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history of jewelry

Notable royal collections of jewelry

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The most famous collection undoubtedly must be given to HM Queen Elizabeth this treasure trove contains literally hundreds of important pieces inherited ,gifted or purchased by or to the royal family. It contains several period pieces which were commissioned by them , these contain large parts of the largest rough Diamond ever found the Cullinan a spectacular stone weighing over 3000 carats before cutting into several major gems . The the Cullinan III and IV both into one dazzling shoulder broach touted as the most valuable broach in the world could be seen decorating her majesty's shoulder on her Diamond Jubilee celebration. The additional items include the Timur Ruby Necklace , numerous Emerald ,Sapphire and Ruby suites , natural Oriental Pearls by the yard and parts of the collection of Dowager Empress Maria Feodrovna mother of the ill fated last Czar of Russia .Total value is almost incalculable due to the historical significance of many items.

Next in in line the fabulous Crown Jewels of Iran, a collection so vast it was use to back the currency of that country for some time. Housed in the Central Bank of Teheran to this day it contains not only the ceremonial crowns ,scepters and swords used by the last dynasty the Pahavi,s but literally caskets of loose oriental natural Pearls ,Emeralds ,Rubies and Sapphires . Only a small part of this inventory was used to fashion highly important pieces to be worn by the beautiful young Empress Farah Diba, a new crown glittering with huge carved Emeralds and Rubies and Pearls was made for the official coronation in October 1967. Included in this cache is the pink Diamond the Noor-al-ain an over 60 carat Oval incorporated into a Diamond tiara made by Harry Winston for the Empresses wedding day.

Now we come to the French collection ; unfortunately the great bulk was auctioned off in 1887 in Paris additionally many historically important pieces were removed by the former royal families and their spouses when the governments and royal houses were replaced by republican forms of government . The Bourbon king Louis XIV builder of Incomparable Versailles palace was a collector of gems , it was he who purchased the Blue Diamond of the Crown from Tavanier a gem merchant . This rare example of colored Diamond was stolen during the French Revolution and recut ,today in its new form its the Hope residing in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.  In 1775 when Marie Antionette arrived in France she received all the jewelry that belonged to her last mother in law Marie -Joseph of Saxe ,this included a parure of white Diamonds an enormous corsage ornament which would be worn across the bodice of a ceremonial gown a series of broaches ,Diamond earrings and several bracelets . After the fall of the House of Bourbon , general Napoleon Boneparte eventually became Napoleon I who had his Empress Josephine and later Marie -Louise ,all gifted with suites of huge value . One notable item again in the hands of the Smithsonian Institute is the Marie -Louise Diamond necklace given to her on the birth of their only son and heir to the French throne. Almost nothing remains of this collection except one lovely Sapphire suite and the legendary Regent Diamond once mounted in the ceremonial sword Napoleon worn at his coronation in Notre Dame cathedral.

The Kohinoor Diamond

The Kohinoor Diamond weighing in at 106 carats was once one of the fabled jewels of Mughal Emporer Shah Jehan builder of the Taj Mahal. In its original form it weighed 186 carats but was uncut and showed little fire . When India became part of the British Empire ;Punjab was included . Its royal [...]

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Jewels of the Smithsonian Collection

The discussion of important historical jewels would not be complete if the extensive collection owned by the American people were not mentioned. There are several stars which we will tell you about here the lore and provenance crosses borders, political upheavals and palace intrigue. Emperor Napoleon of France centers on one such item. The birth of the one heir to [...]

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Diamond necklace of the Queen of France

Many rare and beautiful objects adorned with gems have changed the course of history, and this next section of our blog, History of Jewelry, shall recount some of the most famous and unusual ones. One of the most famous, the diamond necklace of the Queen of France, was made for Marie Antoinette, even though she never wore or owned it. [...]

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Mid-Century Modern Jewelry

The Mid Century Modern period in jewelry spanned from the late 1940s to the end of the 1960s.Tastes shifted drastically and, as a result, the major jewel houses adopted a fresh new approach to precious metals, gemstones and design. During this era, wealthy American women flocked to Paris to obtain the very latest in innovative designs. The leaders in [...]

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Retro Jewelry

The Retro Jewelry era began around 1935 and lasted well into the 50s. This span of time encompassed the recovery after the stock market crash of 1929 and the global turmoil of World War II. Jewelry design departed from the hard-edge cold symmetry of the Deco period .The war effort curtailed the use of platinum; as a result, jewelry designers [...]

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Art Deco Jewelry

The Art Deco period, from the mid 1920s until about 1939, featured a transformation in jewelry style and execution. The flowing lines of the Art Nouveau and Edwardian periods gave way to a mechanical design motif with clean lines, symmetry and a grid. The new form was characterized by spectacular designs in bracelets, split broaches and earrings.Cartier and Van Cleef & [...]

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Edwardian Jewelry

Edwardian jewelry, the last period named after a British monarch, ran from 1901 to 1915 and was characterized by a departure from the somber style of Queen Victoria. Edward VII’s mother mourned for several decades after the death of her husband Prince Albert. But King Edward was a lighthearted and happy monarch, a playboy and darling of the upper class. [...]

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Victorian Jewelry

The very name Victorian jewelry recalls a time when romance ruled the day. The ascension to the British throne of the young and beautiful Queen Victoria heralded a new approach in style and fashion. The growth of an affluent middle class generated a market for mass-produced jewelry used to showcase the social status of its owners.The Queen herself, after marrying the [...]

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Art Nouveau Jewelry

The Art Nouveau era extended from about 1880 to 1918. The trend can be traced back to Germany and France where the “Belle Époque,” or “beautiful period” started. The Spanish artist and architect, Gaudi, as well as Louis Comfort Tiffany, the famed glass and jewelry designer, influenced this period.The design motifs included natural images such as dragonflies, peacocks, irises, pansies, [...]

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