Fruits from Naples

Wonderful necklace of antique carved corals, around 1850, newly mounted

Jewellery made of carved coral is one of the most spectacular souvenirs of a trip to Naples to this day. Simple necklaces made of coral carved into balls are still known today in large numbers. However, necklaces, brooches and whole parures of coral carved by hand into flowers and blossoms, leaves and fruits are still exceptionally rare and always a great pleasure, because they invite us to a journey in our minds and at the same time make us admire the craftsmanship of the masters. Here now is a necklace that presents a fragrant bouquet of flowers and fruits on three rows of small beads made of coral. Roses, grapes, strawberries - the gifts of the rich gardens of the Amalfi Coast have probably inspired here the unknown to us coral carver from the gold of Naples, who has made this necklace from uncounted individually carved elements. And this with humor: because in the middle even two small flies have sat down between the fruits. So fragrant is the arrangement! Jewellery made of carved coral was a big fashion in the middle of the 19th century. The pieces were always created in the Bay of Naples and then traded throughout Europe. In 1851, for example, the stand of the jeweler Robert Phillips at the Great Exhibition in London caused a great sensation with a spectacularly large selection of carved Italian coral, which only a short time later was taken over by what is now the Victoria & Albert Museum. The corals in the necklace here were also cut in the mid-19th century; they show that light red salmon hue typical of 19th century corals. Then, in recent years, they were remounted on a frame on high karat gold. The Italian goldsmith has followed the 19th century tradition, as the coral pieces are attached to the gold struts with resin. Presumably, an older mounting was simply replaced - in the 19th century, coral jewelry was usually set in base metal that broke easily. The beads of the actual necklace were also restrung on this occasion, and the necklace has been given a new clasp. So now it can be worn again with peace of mind and has gained even more in high quality due to the use of 18-karat gold. See, with further examples, also on dating, David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, p. 107, and p. 111, and Charlotte Gere/Judy Rudoe: Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria, London: British Museum Press 2010, pp. 240-243.

Coral is one of the most beautiful gifts of the sea. No chamber of art and curiosities of the early modern era is conceivable without it. Since the Middle Ages, their bizarre shape and intense color have inspired goldsmiths and stone cutters to create ever new creations. Even today, corals are sought-after gemstones that provide a wonderful color accent, especially in summer.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.