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history of jewelry - Westchester estate jewelry

Diamond necklace of the Queen of France

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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. It was commissioned by her father-in-law, Louis XV, as a gift for the infamous Madam du Barry, but the king died before it could be sold to him.

The jewelers, desperate for money, tried to sell the incredible jewelry to the new Queen, but she refused to purchase it for a variety of reasons including crop failures, wars and political unrest. Faced with ruin, the jewelers concocted a scheme in tandem with an adventuress, Madam La Motte, who used lies, forgery and impersonation to enlist the aid of an out-of-favor nobleman, Cardinal De Rohan.

The jewelry was eventually sold in London, and “The Affair of the Necklace” became one of the sparks igniting the French Revolution. The exact weight of the diamonds remains unknown, but the sheer volume and size suggested something spectacular. Several original drawings still exist, showing cascades of matched round diamonds and festoons extending over half a person’s torso.

No trace of the original necklace exists today; however, some royal collections are boasted to contain a group of stones from the original. Meanwhile, this extravagant gift changed the course of European history.

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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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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Roman Jewelry

The Roman Empire at its zenith comprised almost the entire Mediterranean Sea coast, encompassing Germany, France, Britain, North Africa and much of the Middle East. The conquest and acquisition of entire cultures and nations directly influenced the art of jewelry making. Greece, known for its artisans, provided a steady stream of goldsmiths to satisfy the upper-class patrician society of Imperial [...]

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Persian jewelry

The region loosely associated with the Persian Empire is located between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea and includes modern-day Iran, parts of Pakistan, Turkey and Iraq. It dates from 500 BC, with the era of the Medians spanning more the 2,500 years. Their dynasties plundered many treasures from neighboring kingdoms as well.The jewelry of the early eras [...]

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Egyptian jewelry

Egyptian scarab broach Egyptian jewelry dates back to about 3300 years BC, beginning in the Upper Nile Valley and encompassing 28 dynasties until the Greco Roman period in 395 AD, quite a span of history. Throughout this era, the Egyptians valued the religious significance of these objects both in daily life as well as the [...]

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Introduction to "History of Jewelry"

This blog will educate its visitors about the lore, mystery and romance of jewelry and the journey I have traveled to get here. The world of gems and jewelry has affected many chapters in the history of man even though collecting, purchasing and acquiring this unique product represents something no one needs. Yet this coveted commodity has changed the [...]

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