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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

 

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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?

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