Gold and gem-set
the necklace mounted in yellow gold, centred with an octagonal shaped peridot mounted within opposing scrolls with pressed and chased foliate decoration, suspending a pear shaped aquamarine and pink topaz drop, surrounded by an array of multi-coloured gemstones including topaz, garnets, pearls, rubies and opals, the centre flanked either side by two pink topaz and aquamarine drops suspended from foliate tops; the neck consisting of opposing gem-set foliate scroll links alternated with clover like clusters, set with turquoise, pearls, aquamarines, garnets, rubies, emeralds and topaz; accompanied by a pair of earrings, each with three pear shaped drops mounted with aquamarines, pink topaz, emeralds and rubies.
Stamped with the ram’s head mark for Paris (1819-1838)
Length of necklace: 42cm (approximately)
Length of earrings: 8cm
For a discussion of French jewellery of the early nineteenth century, see volume one of La Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle by Henri Vever (translated by Katherine Purcell, Thames and Hudson, 2001).
In Les Bijoux, Anciens et Modernes published in 1887, the master jeweller Eugène Fontenay made a remark which is most apposite when looking at this suite of jewels and the extraordinarily varied collection of vividly coloured gemstones it includes. He wrote:
“…on est contraint, à l’aspect de ces merveilleux produits naturels dont le mystère de la fabrication nous échappe absolument, de convenir que la nature est aussi une grande artiste…”
(…one is constrained by the appearance of these marvellous natural products, of which the mystery of manufacture escapes us absolutely , to agree that nature is also a great artist…)