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Antique Victorian circa 1890 16.76 ct Diamond Silver and Gold Belle Époque Tiara



Even in antiquity, young women wore floral wreaths – yet with the advance of Christianity, this 'pagan' custom gradually faded and got lost. It was only after the French Revolution that floral wreaths, especially those worn by brides, became socially acceptable again. The romantic custom transcended all ranks, reaching the highest levels of society: In 1840, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, wearing a wreath of fragrant orange blossoms in her hair. In the years to follow, much jewellery in floral shapes was produced. Whether made of wax, porcelain or precious gemstones, floral jewels were not only reserved for brides, but meant to adorn women on all kinds of occasions. The tiara at hand seems like a floral wreath immortalised in diamonds, never wilting. Foliate scrolls wind around small blossoms and larger flowerheads from which drop-shaped dew drops seem to trickle. A staggering number of 493 diamond adorns the tiara, amounting to an overall weight of approximately 16.76 ct. At each turn and movement of its wearer, several of the tiara's diamonds catch the light at such an angle as to emit fire and brilliance. Its design and choice of materials allow us to date the tiara to circa 1890. The silver-on-gold technique, the use of old European cut and old mine cut diamonds, the so-called knife wires and the faintly oriental, Indian-inspired designs of the smaller blossoms are typical of the time. Whilst slightly later tiaras would usually follow a more sober neo-classical garland style, this late 19th century example is one of the last to be indebted to gloriously swirling shapes. At the time, tiaras were no longer only worn by noble women, but could be worn at festive events by all those whose wealth, confidence and taste allowed it. In the advent of artificial light, opulent diamond jewellery appeared more adequate than ever at evening events. The tiara is one of those rare pieces that truly manage to transport the splendour and romantic spirit of the Belle Époque into our day, being almost symptomatic of its time. We acquired the piece in the British Midlands region and it was more than likely once made in Britain. It is in excellent condition. Please see David Bennet/Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, pp. 206 f. for similar pieces. MATERIALS 130 diamonds, old European and old mine cut, approx. 13.15 ct altogether (the largest thereof approx. 0.49 ct), mostly Wesselton/H – Crystal/J, some few diamonds Cape/M, si–pi 363 diamonds, 8/8 cut, approx. 3.61 ct altogether, mostly Wesselton/H – Crystal/J, some few diamonds Cape/M, si–pi Gold of at least 585/000 fineness, resp. min. 14k Silver DIMENSIONS Max. height incl. base 4.9 cm / 1.93 in CERTIFICATE The piece will be delivered with our house certificate, issued by an art historian specialised in antique jewellery.


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    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: Berlin, Germany
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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Berlin, Germany
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Established in 2005
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