After acquiring this striking platinum necklace, with its cabochon emerald drop suspended within concentric diamond-studded ellipses, Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry co-owner Suzanne Martinez didn’t take long to date it: the 1920s, peak Art Deco period.
Its clean lines and geometry were her first indications, but a closer look revealed more clues.
“I absolutely see a peacock-feather motif,” she says, explaining that during this time, “European and American jewelry designers were fascinated with styles and techniques from China, Japan and India, which made their way into some of the era’s most iconic jewelry. The peacock was an Indian bird, and this necklace incorporates the motif with modern architectural mechanics.”
The pendant’s graduated elliptical rings articulate, swinging freely on a vertical axis. Designing this sophisticated mechanism was, and still is, quite the bench-jeweler flex.
“Once torches and canned gases were developed that could produce hot-enough flames to melt platinum, circa 1900, it was a game changer for jewelers, who have always been masters of the available technology,” says Martinez. “Platinum is a wonderful metal that has tensile strength, so it can be fashioned in very delicate jewelry and maintain its form.”
Turning to the gems, Martinez notes, “The internal inclusions of the emerald identify the origin as Colombian, and the rich, saturated green color indicates that it may be from Muzo, the mine producing the best of the best material.”
The accent diamonds are Swiss cut — a late-19th-century predecessor to the 20th century’s single-cut round shape.
The jewel tells an Art Deco story from all angles. But Martinez is quick to point out its timeless quality (and we agree). “It is a masterpiece,” she says, “impressive in size, with a great design that feels contemporary as well as something that could have been worn to a Gatsby-style party in the ’20s.”