Jewel of the Month: Egyptian Revival Earrings

It’s hard to believe we are in August already, especially considering the rain currently lashing down in London! As many of us are taking our  holidays, hopefully our jewel of the month will whisk you away to a more exotic place, if you are not in one already.

Here we have a pair of Egyptian Revival earrings, the central motif is a three dimensional silver pharaoh’s head in carved silver, wearing a traditional Nemes headdress set with rose cut diamonds. The head is encircled with a convex ring of hammered gold, decorated with polychrome enamel hieroglyphics, and is backed by a sliver of rock crystal. English, circa 1885.

By the late 19th century, stylistic interpretations of Ancient Egypt were nothing new, having established itself as a recurrent theme in architecture, furniture and ceramics since Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign at the end of the 18th century, but continued archeological exploration in Egypt allowed a steady flow of antiquities to influence style and fashions, as well as a general interest and love for the exotic. The appearance of sphinxes, palm fronds and hieroglyphics were popular, particularly in furniture, and this filtered into the world of jewellery of course. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, not to mention the continued excavation of El-Armana in 1887 and the discovery of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s tomb, kept the public’s ‘Egyptomania’ thriving and these earrings are very much a part of that.


Cicada Brooch

Diamond Cicada Brooch

With summer finally making an appearance this week this wonderful Victorian Cicada Brooch, circa 1880 seems to be the perfect Jewel of the Month for May/June.  We were lucky enough to be given a wonderful collection of bugs and butterflies to sell this year from a long standing friend and client and this realistically modelled diamond set cicada is one of the stand out pieces.  He is a rather magnificent beast with sparkling cabochon sapphire eyes, his body and wings set with old cushion cut and rose cut diamonds all mounted in silver and yellow gold which is typical in Victorian jewellery.

Bugs and Butterflies have always featured in jewellery but became popular in Victorian times when nature and all who lived in it became the designers delight.



Jewel of the Month: Aquamarine & Opal Clip by Yard

This incredible clip has rightly claimed jewel of the month at Sandra Cronan this March, with the days getting undeniably longer, and oh what’s that? The SUN making an appearance! This piece by famed American jeweller Yard echoes the positivity and optimism of Spring with a delightful use of colour; a fabulous deeply hued aquamarine, the rainbow of the white opal at opposite corners, playfully asymmetric, and the diamond accents bringing everything together with just the right amount of sparkle. Surely American jewellery at its finest?

Raymond C. Yard got off to a good start in the jewellery world; before founding his own business in 1922, Yard was a salesman at Marcus & Co. He used his experience wisely in his shop on Fifth Avenue, creating a reputation of the very best taste and uncanny ability to source the best of the best when it came to gemstones, which led him to provide the jewellery for some of the most prestigious families in America, including the Rockefellers, Fleischmanns and Flaglers. Yard was intimately involved throughout the production of every piece of jewellery that bore his signature, and as a result, each piece screams perfection and precision, thanks to the limited production and highest standards of quality and design, as illustrated here in aquamarine, opals and diamonds.


Mrs Snewing’s Earrings

November’s jewel of the month is this wonderfully eccentric pair of Victorian earrings with a very special provenance…

They are specially commissioned one-off high carat gold earrings with kite registered design marks to base for 1862. The earrings depict three dimensional jockeys, enamelled in the colours of Mrs Snewing, owner of the bay colt Caractacus, who won the Derby in 1862. They wear golden jackets, white breeches and black caps. Mr Snewing, as a young man visiting the Great Exhibition of 1851, saw a magnificent statue of Caractacus being led captive to Rome. The beauty of the sculpture and the euphony of the name captivated him, and he vowed that if he ever owned a horse he believed could win the Derby he would call it Caractacus. Ten years later, on the eve of the opening of the Great Exhibition of 1862, Snewing had such a colt of unusual excellence, which he named Caractacus.

The 1862 Derby proved to be a race of great drama. Caractacus’s jockey was an inexperienced 16 year old stable boy, John Parsons. Though Caractacus was first to cross the finishing line, at the weigh-in afterwards Parsons failed to meet the minimum jockey weight requirement. The bridle was sent for and with its addition Parsons only just passed the weigh-in. To add to the suspense, Lord Stamford, owner of the colt Ensign, called for the disqualification of Carcatacus and the majority of the field for false starts. However as his objection was logged 5 minutes after the allotted 15 minute period for objections it was dismissed.
These gold earrings are a cryptic form of celebration for Caractacus’s Derby win.  The jockeys are seated on gold on scales suspended by gold chains from gold bead tops. The earrings are 1 and 1/8 inches long including gold wire, 1 inch long excluding wire and 1/3 of an inch wide. Exceptionally fine rendition of the jockeys, and in immaculate condition.

Jewel of the Month: Sacred Heart Brooch and Ring

We are thrilled to present a very special jewel as our first  ‘Jewel of the Month’. We have a  ruby heart with weeping cabochon ruby ‘tears’, encircled by an emerald crown of thorns, surmounted by ruby flames and a diamond cross. Set in silver and gold, Portuguese, circa 1780. We also have a very similar ring to accompany the brooch.

This badge is associated with the Portuguese Order of Christ, whose Mastership was invested in Queen Maria I of Portugal (1734-1816). After her accession in 1777 she placed the Order of Christ under the patronage of the Sacred Heart, a devotion which owed its origin to a French nun, St Margaret Mary Alacoque in the late 17th century and which was approved by the 18th century Papacy, It is represented by the heart which is aflame with love, and weeping tears showing Christ’s compassion for mankind, surmounted by the cross on which he died, encircled by the crown of thorns placed on his head. For Roman Catholics this heart is a symbol of how Christ loved his people, even unto the end on the cross. Available to view in our gallery.