Antique Jewelry Addiction

...inimitable touch of old charm, a glimpse of another society...

Emeralds


The word “emerald” was derived from French “esmeraude” which in turn goes back via Latin to the Greek root “smaragdos”, meaning simply “green gemstone”. The ancient Incas and Aztecs, in South America where the best Emeralds are still found today, worshipped them as a holy stone. However, probably the most ancient occurrences which were known are located near the Red Sea where mines were already exploited by Egyptian Pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 B.C.. The mines gained fame under he name of “Cleopatra’s Mines”, but were already exhausted when they were rediscovered.

What is surprising with emeralds is that, in spite of the beauty of the green they feature, inclusions are allowed, and nevertheless, in top qualities fine emerald are even more valuable than diamonds.

Large emeralds with no inclusions and of the better color are so rare that if you had one it’d be more expensive than a diamond. Therefore most emeralds will have inclusions - traces of an active history of origin characterising the gemstone. Fine inclusions, after all, do not diminish the value; on the contrary. An Emerald of deep, vivid green with inclusions will be valued higher than an inclusion-free stone of paler color. Almost endearingly, experts call the many crystal inclusions or fissures which are so typical for this gemstone a “jardin” (meaning “garden” in French). The tender green plant-like structures in the Emerald garden are considered as identifying characteristics of a naturally grown Emerald.

Many centuries ago in the Veda, the ancient sacred writings of Hinduism, there was written down information on the valuable green gemstones and their healing power: ”Emeralds promise good luck”, or ”The Emerald enhances your well-being”. It does not come as a surprise, then, that the treasure chests of Indian Maharajas and Maharanis contained most wonderful Emeralds. One of the largest Emeralds in the world is the “Mogul Emerald”. It goes back to the year 1695, weighs 217.80 carats and is about 10 cm high. One side is inscribed with prayers, on the other side there are engraved opulent flower ornaments. The legendary Emerald was auctioned off at Christie’s of London for 2.2 million US dollars to an anonymous buyer.

Emeralds have been coveted ever since ancient times. Some of the most famous Emeralds can therefore be admired in museums and collections. For example, The New York Museum of Natural History not only shows a cup from pure Emerald which was owned by Emperor Jehingar, but also a Colombian Emerald crystal weighing 632 carats. The collection owned by the Bank of Bogota contains no less than five valuable Emerald crystals weighing between 220 and 1796 carats. Also in the Irani State Treasure there are guarded some wonderful Emeralds, among them the tiara of ex-Empress Farah.


Emerald´s reported healing properties:

Guards against poison and venomous bites
Cures epilepsy
Induces fertility and prevents abortions
Heals and relaxes the eyes
Helps with stomach disorders, such as dysentery
Induces sleep
Aids in leprosy wounds.

Emerald’s reported power properties :

Protection against demoniacal possession
Increase brain powers
Provide clairvoyance
Mental clarity
Strengthen love and fidelity

Cross pendant “badine” or little wind in gold with garnets, pear-shaped  element articulated to the rest of the cross, in bezel setting, with  bail drawn back and invisible.
This cross was the most typical and  traditional cross made in the Roussillon in France, worn with a silk or  velvet ribbon attached or tied around the neck. The shape of this jewel  was already know by Catalan goldsmiths in 1663. Worn during the Empire  and the Restoration, they are found on the portrait of Elizabeth  Campagnac.
In our days, French regional crosses are very scarce  compared to the variety that existed in the old days. Most of these  crosses are now kept in museums or in private collections.

Cross pendant “badine” or little wind in gold with garnets, pear-shaped element articulated to the rest of the cross, in bezel setting, with bail drawn back and invisible.

This cross was the most typical and traditional cross made in the Roussillon in France, worn with a silk or velvet ribbon attached or tied around the neck. The shape of this jewel was already know by Catalan goldsmiths in 1663. Worn during the Empire and the Restoration, they are found on the portrait of Elizabeth Campagnac.

In our days, French regional crosses are very scarce compared to the variety that existed in the old days. Most of these crosses are now kept in museums or in private collections.

Antique sentimental gold ring French amitié friendship
Among antique jewelry that can be described as sentimental, a category  is obvious: the ring. jewels of the 19th century had multiple functions  loaded with symbolism: to show social status, wealth, religion and  political beliefs. They are also a way to signify a feeling of love or  friendship. At that time, no matter the materials they were made, the  feeling prevailed over the desire to appear. Engravings are explicit  “amitié” or friendship. It is important to note the ambiguity of the  term “ami” in French. At the end of the 18th century, there was a  sacredness of friendship and designated as the lover or the mistress…

Antique sentimental gold ring French amitié friendship

Among antique jewelry that can be described as sentimental, a category is obvious: the ring. jewels of the 19th century had multiple functions loaded with symbolism: to show social status, wealth, religion and political beliefs. They are also a way to signify a feeling of love or friendship. At that time, no matter the materials they were made, the feeling prevailed over the desire to appear. Engravings are explicit “amitié” or friendship. It is important to note the ambiguity of the term “ami” in French. At the end of the 18th century, there was a sacredness of friendship and designated as the lover or the mistress…

Brazilian emerald and diamonds ring Art Deco 
Untempered luxury and exquisite craftsmanship are expressed in this  jewel. Attractive and fashionable ring in pure Art Deco  style of the 1920s featuring a natural Brazilian emerald and 52 old cut  diamonds. Platinum is used freely with great effect in setting gemstones  and achieving light and lively mount, precise shapes and outlines.

Brazilian emerald and diamonds ring Art Deco 

Untempered luxury and exquisite craftsmanship are expressed in this jewel. Attractive and fashionable ring in pure Art Deco style of the 1920s featuring a natural Brazilian emerald and 52 old cut diamonds. Platinum is used freely with great effect in setting gemstones and achieving light and lively mount, precise shapes and outlines.

Nicer to buy antique than modern jewelry?

… Because antique jewels contain ‘A touch of History’...

Antique jewels are unique and are irreplaceable. Old jewelry also has a history but it has no inherent value as antiques. Adin is careful to select only pieces which are fine examples of their time and accurately reflects the design trend of their period. Buying antique jewels is similar to buying paintings of Dutch Masters. Why do some of the richest people and companies around the world invest millions of $ in Van Gogh famous paintings. Today, many people could reproduce Van Gogh’s in ways that could easily mislead the most talented experts, but himself Van Gogh will never come back. The more time goes by, the further we are from the Master’s epoch and the more valuable gets his work. This goes for all valuables, but of course the scale is different. It applies to paintings, furniture, cars and of course jewelry. At Adin’s, one of the secrets of our success is precisely our ability to sort the goods available on the market and to select for our customers only those that have a story and which value increases with time.

Antiques have most of the time a higher standard of craftsmanship. In most antiques you can see from the moment you touch it that it required often hundreds of hours to com to life.

Antiques are never off-the-shelf purchases. Either you buy it because you fell in love with it or after the long quest that precedes the discovery of the original item you consciously or unconsciously always dreamed of. Buying modern jewelry is like picking up in a catalog, but purchasing a piece of antique jewelry is a commitment.

Long earrings

During early XIXth century, long earrings were in fashion. At that time, people used to wearing their hair up in a style called beehive and they needed something to decorate their necks. One of the means most used was to wear long earrings that could delicately decorate the lower part of the head. This style came back in again in the 1960’s, but in a shorter version. In Elizabethan times, beehives used to be half a meter high and they was so intricately made that people often did not have the time or the money to have their hair redone every day. They would therefore choose to have their hair done up spectacularly at the beginning of the year and then just add lacquer for as long as possible, even months. Sometimes ladies would have some little uninvited guests when a family of mice would choose to make their nests in a local head of hair. The little beasts would enter while people were asleep.

A couple of years ago the eccentric British pop star Elton John had such a bee hive wig manufactured for him and paid over $ 60,000 for the privilege. There were no reports of any mouse sightings there.

In a famous scene from the 1988 hit film Bright Lights Big City Michael J. Fox talks to a beautiful model who takes the idea of long hanging earrings even further with a completely bald head. This is one of the little cameos in that film that is remembered by most people who saw it.  So, what is good for Hollywood is certainly good for you.

Top notch star sapphire

Top notch star sapphire bracelet

The star sapphire in the center of the depicted bracelet is something we hardly ever see, we couldn’t stop playing with it in the sunlight. This is how one wants to have a Victorian bracelet with a star sapphire and rose cut diamonds to look like. The overall impression of this beauty is impressive, we are not even sure its splendour is caught well on the pictures.

When looking at the master mark we see an “L” and a “G” which was the “poiçon de maître” (French for “master mark”) for Léon Gariod. This company was established by Gaucher and Tonnelier in 1859. Gaucher became the sole owner in 1869 and started a partnership with Gariod in 1875 who took over the company in 1884. The company with its address in Rue St. Augustin 29 in Paris became specialized in articulated bracelets and mat gold chains with precious stones.

A star sapphire is a variety of sapphire that has a silky structure and when cut en cabochon shows a 6-rayed (sometimes 4-ray, 8-ray or 12-ray) star in reflected light, due to the phenomenon known as asterism.

Asterism is an optical phenomenon of a star-like figure that is seen in some crystals by reflected light or transmitted light. An example is the 6-ray star-like figure that is observed by reflected light in some gemstones (especially the star ruby and the star sapphire) when cut en cabochon in such a manner that the greatest thickness of the stone lies parallel to the vertical axis of the crystal. The stone must be precisely cut, aligned with the vertical axis, as otherwise the result will be an off-centre, crooked or dim star, or even the absence of a star.

The effect is caused by the reflection of light from a series of microscopic fibrous inclusions or small canals lying within the crystal parallel to the prism faces and arranged in three directions that intersect, usually at angles of 60°.

What’s interesting about the company of Léon Gariod is that they worked very closely together with L.Gautrait, an illuster jeweller of the Art Nouveau period of who not much, if any, biographical information is known. According to Vever (who wrote the “bible” for antique jewelers around 1900), Gautrait was a “ciseleur-modeleur” and fidèle collaborateur” of the Parisian jewellers Léon Gariod. Vever characterised his collegue as an “excellent perfectionistic jeweller with a delicate taste”.

Vever continues: “These simple yet decorative jewels were meticulously made and extremely popular. With his attractive brooches and his pendants of contemporary or traditional inspiration, Gariod’s work has attracted a great deal of attention. With his faithful collaborator M.(…M and not L  ! - Adin) designs and chases these creations, characterized by their great refinement.

The circle of life

If one had to try and figure out what the various religions, traditions and civilizations have in common, one thing would ultimately come top of the list: celebrations and commemorations.

For thousands of years now, all people have one thing in common; they all fear death. The fear of death is what makes you cherish life, it’s what give it its value. But mankind has never been able to cope with death without fighting it, mostly by celebrating life. For this reason, as well maybe in an effort to ‘control’ time, men have selected events (that can vary according to ethnic groups) to celebrate or commemorate. These can range from births, religious and secular rites of passage, to engagements, weddings, harvest celebrations, mourning…

Consequently, you can find today antiques that were manufactured for almost any kind of occasion, even some you might never have heard of before. All these occasions together form a part of what is called ‘Tradition’. And Tradition is the sum of all those little details that bind people together, as man cannot live alone.

So, whenever something important happens in your life, or if you just want to mark something with a milestone, remember, if you love antiques, there were men and women before you that had marvelous ways of saying ‘I care about you’, in all different traditions.

Below you will find some example of the extraordinary rich heritage left for you by craftsmen of the last centuries.

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