A pair of platinum earrings each vertically set with a central barrel shaped green jade the two with an approximate total weight of 6.00 carats, mounted to top and bottom with borders and stirrup shaped forms flanking horizontal bands of onyx and set with eighty round eight cutdiamonds all with an approximate total weight of 1.00 carats, and each with a round old cut diamond set to top and bottom all four with an approximate total weight of 1.00 carats, the back of the uppermost diamond mounted with post fittings, with fitted box.
Art Deco diamond, onyx and jade earrings, circa 1925.
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In reference to gemstones, a unit of weight, abbreviated 'ct'. 1 carat is equal to 0.2 grams.
In reference to gold, a unit of purity or fineness of gold and gold alloy, expressed as a number out of 24 parts by weight, e.g. '24 carat' signifies pure gold, '18 carat' 18/24th gold in the alloy, et cetera. Also abbreviated as 'ct'.
Originally derived from the carob seed, called quirat in Arabic, a seed of naturally uniform weight.
Jade, with its pleasing lustre and immense strength, has been revered by many cultures over time. The pre-Columbian civilisations of South America valued it over gold, and the Ancient Egyptians thought of it as the stone of love and harmony. In China, however, is where it was and still is today the most sought after, and is believe to symbolize good and happiness.
The term jade actually covers two distinct types of stones: jadeite and nephrite. It is only in recent times that the distinction was made clear, as green specimen of each can resemble one another quite closely. Jadeite is rarer and more precious. Jade from Burma and southern China ranks as the finest in the world, followed by jadeite from Siberia. The best known contemporary source of nephrite is New Zealand.
OLD CUT Refers to a stone cut with a rounded outline and large culet, predominantly prior to 1910. This style was meant to maximise light return in low light conditions, namely candlelight.
PLATINUM Platinum is the hardest precious metal. It is lighter, harder and stronger than gold or silver which it superseded as a setting for diamonds making finer intricate settings possible. Platinum was first hallmarked in the UK in 1975.
Chalcedony is a form of quartz with a very special structure, known in gemmological circles as cryptocrystalline—meaning the crystal structure is incredibly small and dense, rendering it one of the smoothest gemstones.This allows for the material to be crisply carved, which makes it perfect for the jeweller type for which it is best known—cameos and intaglios.
Chalcedony also comes in a myriad of colours and patterns, and is often better known by these sub-types.One is onyx, a black form of chalcedony, often with white banding.Another is agate, which has fine layers of colour, and was thought by ancient peoples to quench thirst, and protect against fever. One of the most popular is sardonyx, characterized by wider, straight banding, which makes it perfect for use in cameo carving. Bloodstone is deep green colour with red splashes.Carnelian is the name for the reddish orange variety, while jasper is the name of chalcedony of any other colour or pattern.
Diamonds have been prized for their unique physical attributes for millennia. Formed of crystallized carbon, they are the hardest substance on earth. It is unsurprising then that diamonds have long been the symbol of strength, invincibility and eternal love.
The first significant source of diamonds was India, more specifically a region known as Golconda. These diamonds are particularly prized for their lack of impurities, resulting in colourless diamonds of supreme clarity and brilliance. Many of the world's most famous were found in the Golconda mines, including the Hope diamond and the Koh-i-noor.
From India diamonds were carried along the Silk Routes of Central Asia, through Turkey and thence on to Europe. It was during this time that Venice became a major diamond trading centre, with Bruges and, later, Antwerp at the northern end of the route. India remained the primary source of diamonds until the eighteenth century, by which time the mines there had been largely depleted. Rather fortuitously, around the same time diamonds were discovered in Brazil. This source, however, was short-lived, and ran out in the mid-nineteenth century.
But yet again, a new source immerged to replace it, this time one of much more significant supply. In 1866 a child in South Africa found an unusual looking stone, which turned out to be a twenty one carat rough diamond, now known as the ‘Eureka' diamond. Shortly thereafter, in 1869, the discovery of an 83.5 carat diamond-the ‘Star of South Africa'-confirmed the significance of the deposits.
The now famous DeBeers Company, founded by Englishman Cecil Rhodes, controlled all of the diamond deposits in South Africa from the time of its establishment in 1888. And so it came to pass that London became the world's rough diamond trading centre, as all stones passed through his London offices, while cutting carried on in Antwerp, and later Tel Aviv and New York. Today South Africa remains a major source of world diamonds, joined in the twentieth century by Canada, Australia and Russia, which helped to break down the DeBeers monopoly.
Though most people think of diamonds as colourless, diamonds can form in most any colour of the rainbow, including black.
PLATINUM A metallic element prized for its rarity, whiteness, high tensile strength and insusceptibility to corrosion. It first became widely used in jewellery in the late nineteenth century, when methods were found to make it more easily workable. It features heavily in the delicate Edwardian jewellery of the first decades of the twentieth century.
An eight cut diamond has 18 facets in total and is reserved for smaller diamonds. The more simplified number of facets allow light to reflect in a soft manner that complements its small size and does not bombard its appearance.