Rare Antique and Estate Jewelry & Fine Collections of Precious Gems
by Michael Khordipour
August 30, 2016
Mention the name Tiffany to anybody who knows anything about jewelry and the conversation will always lead back to the famous New York jeweler.
Back in the early days of Tiffany’s, many pieces weren’t given fancy names, so they were – and still are – referred to as merely “Tiffany Diamond Ring” or “Tiffany Gold Wedding Band”, and so it is with these incredible Tiffany Gold Earrings.
Made in 1878, the exquisite design is based on treasures uncovered during the excavation of the ancient city of Kourion on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus a few years earlier. Inspired by the excavated objects dated from the 5th and 6th century BC, these Charles Tiffany-designed earrings were winning exhibition medals as soon as they were completed and proved so popular that Tiffany reintroduced the design at the 1902 Turin Exhibition of Decorative Modern Art.
Their bold and unusual design still turn heads today and are a classic example of the style, beauty and innovative design for which Tiffany & Co. are rightly renowned.
We mentioned, in our introduction to this article, that subtlety wasn’t a stated aim of vintage jewelry designers, but these beautiful earrings are a rare example of something which manages to be both delicate and bold at the same time.
Typical of the popular teardrop designs of the day, it would have been easy for the designer to drop the two fine rose cut diamonds with a bare scattering of other stones to show them off, but we know that bold was considered beautiful and so the finished earrings are much more elaborate.
The two central diamonds are suspended, surrounded by a halo of other, smaller, rose cut diamonds, and each in turn framed by a teardrop halo of cut diamonds. At the same time delicate, bold, elegant and formidable, these earrings are truly timeless and still able to draw attention today, some 140 years after their creation.
Regarding the basic design, these fabulous earrings are not dissimilar to the Antique Georgian Earrings above.
Indeed, if one were to “fill in” the spaces in the Georgian earrings, they may well turn out very much like these. Made exclusively from platinum and old mine cut diamonds, they are almost brooch-like in their design and unmistakably classic of this era.
Designed to catch every scrap of the surrounding light, the old mine cut diamonds dance and sparkle as though alive and can’t fail to be noticed among even the most opulent surroundings.
With two old European cut diamonds and two incredible pear-shaped diamonds, the design progression from the Victorian era in both precision and variety is easily seen.
Designers were becoming more aware that just having huge stones in jewelry design wasn’t going to “cut” it, and they needed to start offering a higher level of delicacy in their work to set the magnificent apart from the merely ordinary.
These diamond earrings are, indeed, magnificent. Classic evening wear with the ability to shine like stars due to the immaculate cutting employed in their creation.
The Edwardian era from 1900-1910 is often considered a transitional period for jewelry, fashion, and art in general. The reason is that it straddles both the Victorian era and the future dominance of the Art Deco period which overtook all else in the 1920s and is still one of art and designs most treasured periods with it’s ancient and modern-inspired motifs and big brash statements.
These earrings are a perfect example of that transition and can be considered a forerunner of Art Deco containing, as they do, an incredibly precise level of craftsmanship from top to bottom. So delicate is the design and manufacture that even the best machines of the modern day would struggle to produce such quality.
Featuring early-Brilliant cut diamonds to enable them to sparkle in even the dimmest candlelight and set in the most elegant platinum, and they are among the most excellent examples of intricacy and design that went on to define the Edwardian era.
Long before it was decided that diamonds were the only stone in town, rubies were the most highly prized of the precious gems, and they show why in these fantastic chandelier-style earrings.
Using the most beautiful Burmese rubies and old mine cut diamonds, the perfect ratio of the two stones and their beautifully thought out settings make these earrings among the finest of the Edwardian era, and demonstrate the rapid advances in metallurgy and gemology that was allowing ever more intricate and delicate designs.
Combining elegance and style in abundance, these earrings are superb and would stand out in any crowd.
During the 1920s, Art Deco saw the end of the delicate floral and leaf designs of the preceding Edwardian era, into a more industrial and aggressive period of design.
Inspired by the burgeoning industrial designs of cities and the machines that built them, Art Deco is built upon symmetry and sharp edges, and these stunning earrings are the perfect example of that philosophy.
With a visually stunning geometric design and two cushion cut old mine diamonds, the earrings are set entirely in platinum and decorated with smaller diamonds to emphasize the industrial nature of the design and leaving nothing open to interpretation. When designers started producing what we now know as Art Deco, these earrings were at the forefront of it all.
Created in c.1920, right in the first flourish of Art Deco youth, they helped to set a standard which has outlasted almost all others.
Like the Art Deco Earrings above, these fantastic diamond and onyx earrings move away from the diamond-dominated Victorian era and use color as a way of expressing the wearer’s personality.
Dangerously dark and foreboding, but still spectacularly beautiful, the points and sharp edges warn about taking anything for granted, with the two bottom diamonds set to look almost like they are floating against a backdrop of onyx.
Finished off with delicate filigree and manufactured c.1920, these again are a great example of the beginning of the Art Deco period.
As the Art Deco period ushered in an era of modernity and industrialized designs, it seems some designers weren’t quite ready to let the delicate flower and leaf motifs of the previous few years disappear just yet.
At first glance, these stunning sapphire earrings appear to be nothing more than a simple 5-petal flower design framing a pair of lively antique diamonds.
On closer inspection, however, each petal terminates in a sharp point and is crisscrossed with a square cut pattern creating an opening up of the reflected light and adding considerable interest to the piece. It also makes the earrings unmistakably Art Deco, and unmistakably appealing.
Sapphires have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years but, looking at these, did they ever really go out of fashion?
February 08, 2018
The rare Tiffany earrings are stunning!
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