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Our Latest Obsessions: Georgian Paste Earrings and the Aigrette
04 / 26

 

Item of the Week: Georgian Paste Earrings

 

We’ve been obsessed with finding a pair of good quality Georgian Paste Earrings (single stone drops). They had to be Georgian with a good amount of sparkle, well-made, and set in silver.

 

We found them! These beautiful Georgian, cushion cut (old mine cut) paste earrings have survived over two centuries and still have their sparkle. Originally shirt studs, they were converted to earrings by adding rose gold ear wires. They have all the signs of well-made paste from this period: “cut-down” or collet settings in which the edge is smooth, delicate, and almost merges with the stone; no yellowing, which means the setting was well-made and airtight; and set in silver.

 

A pair of this quality and condition from the Georgian period is getting harder to come by. For more information, to purchase or view other earrings in this collection, visit the the Spun Sugar Collection at Sugar et Cie.

 

Georgian Paste Earrings

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

Our Other Obsession: The Aigrette

 

For those that may not have heard of it before, it is a jeweled hair ornament that resembles a spray of upright feathers, sometimes with an actual feather or tuft of feathers sprouting from the top. The feathers were often from the egret, which translates to aigrette in French. The jeweled portion can be fixed or “en trembleuse”/trembling, so that it trembles with movement.

 

Aigrettes were the most popular hair ornaments in the late 19th and early 20th century. Cartier and other well-known French jewelers, frequented special suppliers to purchase the feathers. White, shimmering green, and jet black feathers from around the world (New Guinea, Egypt and Central America) were all in demand. Cartier’s aigrette designs changed over time as different cultures inspired him. Evolving from floral motifs, to those influenced by Asia and Persia and then India.

 

From the 16th century through 19th century, aigrettes were most often worn on the top of the head, tiara, hat, etc. In the 1920’s the placement moved slightly. Now they were most often pinned to a band that wrapped around the head. The aigrette was attached to the band at the center of the forehead or at the side of the head, over the ear. The aigrette is becoming popular again today with brides who want a 1920’s inspired look. Take a look at this photo shoot by Vogue of Carrie Mulligan in 1920’s inspired fashion: including a few aigrettes, for the upcoming movie “The Great Gatsby”.

 

What piece of jewelry are you currently obsessed with?

04 / 23

 

The Most Expensive White Diamond

 

A record was set last week for the most expensive white diamond sold in the Americas. Sotheby’s announced that on April 17th, they sold a D color, pear-shaped diamond, of approximately 75 carats, for a cool $14.2 million ($189,000 per carat).

 

Yes it is a beautiful diamond, but our two favorites from this sale are an Emerald and Diamond Necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels and a Platinum “Tutti Frutti” Bracelet from Cartier.

 

Other Favorites From the Magnificent Jewels Auction

 

The Van Cleef & Arpels necklace is a sparkling extravaganza of vivid green emeralds and bright white diamonds. 33 heart-shaped emeralds weighing 164.96 carats, are accented by 51 heart shaped diamonds, further accented by additional marquise, pear and round cut diamonds. This lovely jewel sold for $1,055,000, significantly over the estimate of $450,000 to $650,000.

 

Jewels from Sotheby's

Cartier’s Art Deco Tutti Frutti Jewels

 

The Cartier “Platinum, Carved Colored Stone, Diamond and Pearl ‘Tutti Frutti’ Bracelet by Cartier sold for $1,445,000, also significantly over its estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. Tutti Frutti, as these pieces are known, is named for a series of colorful bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches, etc. designed by Cartier originally in the 1920’s and 1930’s. They are comprised of carved rubies, emeralds, and sapphires and interspersed with diamonds, resembling a fruit salad.

 

Famous Cartier Clients from the Art Deco Period

 

You may have heard of a few of Cartier’s clients who purchased these pieces. They were trendsetters and significantly impacted the popularity of the Tutti Frutti jewels. In 1925, Mrs. Cole Porter purchased a bracelet comprised of carved sapphires, rubies, emerald beads, onyx, black enamel, and diamonds. In 1935, she purchased a double clip brooch, with a similar color scheme, leaf shaped carved sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.

 

Daisy Fellowes, considered to be one of the most fashionable and elegant women of the 20th century, heiress, socialite, author and Paris editor of Harper’s Bazaar in the 1930’s, commissioned a Tutti Frutti necklace. It was originally referred to as the Hindu necklace. It too was comprised of carved rubies, emerald, sapphires and accented with diamonds. It differed in that it featured briolette cut sapphires. The briolettes alone, weighted in at 146.9 carats. It has become one of the more famous Tutti Frutti pieces.

 

The artistry, craftsmanship, not to mention the gemstones utilized in these pieces are from a time gone by and would be nearly impossible to recreate today. As such, the demand for these beautiful works of art has only increased over the years. Each time they come up for auction, their prices seem to climb just a bit higher.

04 / 18

 

French, Blue Enamel and Gold Star Earrings: Starry Skies

 

Our item of the week, is this delicate vintage pair of 1950’s blue enamel and gold earrings. When we discovered them, they were a pair of cufflinks. We could not resist the small gold stars painted on the blue enamel with a diamond moon at the center. The enamel panel is framed in gold with additional etched stars. Hence the name – Starry Skies. We added 18kt gold lever backs and a few additional diamonds (stars falling from the sky) linked to the ends to give them movement and additional sparkle. For more information on this item, visit the the Spun Sugar Collection at Sugar et Cie.

 

French Blue Enamel,Gold Star, and Diamond Earrings

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

French Enamel

 

To put it simply, enameling is the process of fusing a mixture of ground glass to metal through the application of high heat. It is a complicated process that requires great skill and training. A wide range of vivid colors can be created. Jewelers love the endless color possibilities and enjoy creating pieces that would not otherwise be possible through the use of colored gemstones alone. The French are well known for the quality of their enamel work. Over many centuries they, and others, developed many different techniques for working with enamel, but are probably the most well known for the painting of enamel that flourished in Limoges, France. Cartier and Lalique, are two excellent 20th century examples of french jewelers who incorporated enamel work into many of their famous pieces of jewelry.

 

Wear it with Blue and White

 

These earrings are great for the upcoming season. They are full of sparkle and shine. Wear them with pink, red, black, anything really, but we think they would look amazing for summer with blue and white. The following are three different looks, featuring white dresses and blue accessories.

Summer Blues

Dresses

As pictured: Soft Multi-Layer Dress, by James Perse at RevolveClothing.com

As pictured: Wide Strapped Ruched Dress, by James Perse at RevolveClothing.com

As pictured: Masada Dress, by Bailey 44 at senecamoss.com

 

Shoes

As pictured: T-Strap Platform Sandal, by Giuseppe Zanotti

As pictured: Strapped Peep Toe Bootie, also by Giuseppe Zanotti

As pictured: Arella Suedette Platform shoes, at Boohoo.com

An alternative: Miss Benin, by Christian Louboutin.

04 / 05

 

Secret Keepers

 

What’s better than a really good secret? Perhaps a beautiful piece of jewelry that lets you keep a secret and bring it with you wherever you go. I know that I’m not the only one that finds it hard to resist a hidden compartment. I have been an eye-witness to the bidding frenzy that happens when a piece of jewelry contains a hidden locket compartment. It seems to double or triple the price.

Ruby and Diamond Watch Ring

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

Hidden Watches

 

We recently acquired a cocktail ring circa 1950. A stunning ring of with cabochon cut rubies, set in rose gold and a diamond at the center. However, what compelled us to snatch it up was the secret behind the face of the ring – a Swiss made watch. It’s fun to have a secret and wear a one of a kind piece that you know no one else is going to have. How many people have you seen wearing a gem-set watch ring? Visit our Cocktail Ring Collection for more information.

 

The Poison Ring

 

Research suggests that the poison ring might be more fiction than fact. Although they did exist, who used them and for what purposes have definitely been exaggerated. Lucrezia Borgia, part of the Machiavellian world of Renaissance Italy, is one of the better known figures at the center of this lore. She is rumored to have poisoned the drinks of her family’s political rivals via a ring she wore that contained a hidden compartment filled with a poisonous substance.

 

The only modern poison ring that I have seen which seems to capture the beauty and spirit of this Renaissance myth is from the famous Maison Boucheron. They had a collection a few years ago that included a series of poison rings with pave-set gems (sapphires, rubies, and emeralds) set in blackened gold. The top slides open to reveal a secret compartment in which to keep your poison of course!

 

Lockets

 

Jewelry from the Victorian period had a language of its own. Many pieces of jewelry from the period incorporated either symbolism, sentimentality or secrecy and sometimes all three. The Victorians loved compartments, hidden or in plain sight. They engraved messages and tucked away tokens of luck or love (painted portraits, a lock of hair, a dried four leaf clover). Lockets hanging from chains or collars were very popular. Most contained pictures of loved ones.

 

 

Antique Victorian Silver Locket

 

 

Victorian Silver Locket with Original Pictures

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

Bangle bracelets occasionally contained a photo compartment. The compartments were usually hidden behind a small hinged panel that opened up to reveal a framed photo inside.

 

We love these antique pieces with secret hiding places. It’s great to have a piece of jewelry in which to keep a hidden picture of your significant other, children or pets. Some (lockets, pocket watches, bangles) are given as gifts with monograms engraved on a blank cartouche on the outside and/or with a secret message on the inside. Many brooch/pendants have glazed compartments (hidden underneath) which originally were used to hold a lock of hair. Use it to hold a secret message, name or date instead. Browse through our Victoriana Collection and find your favorite jeweled secret keeper.