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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.