Rare Georgian garnet suite. A garnet set suite comprising necklace, brooch/pendant, bracelet and earrings, the necklace set with sixty cushion shape table cut natural unenhanced garnets in closed backcut down settings with a combined approximate weight of 70.85 carats, to an intricate openwork necklace with stylised settings, articulated links, polished backings and centrally fitted with an open pendant bale, secured with a integrated push clasp, approximately 16.5" in length, the removable brooch/pendant set with thirty seven round and drop shape table cut natural unenhanced garnets in closed back cut down settings with a combined approximate weight of 12.90 carats, to a stylised cross motif with a radiating pattern, integrated pendant loop to top and fitted to reverse with a secure hinged pin and scroll clasp, approximately 5.3cm in width, the bracelet set with sixteen cushion shape table cut natural unenhanced garnets in closed back cut down settings with a combined approximate weight of 19.90 carats, to an articulated line bracelet with polished reverse and secure push clasp, approximately 6.8" in length, the matching earrings each set with twenty cushion and drop shape natural unenhanced garnets in closed back cut down settings, forty in total with a combined approximate weight of 17.60 carats, to an elegant drop earring suspending two line drops, flowing with movement, surmounted by an intricate openwork plaque and fitted with a secure shepherd's hook, approximately 7cm in length from top of hook. Testedrose gold, English, circa 1770, accompanied by fitted box.
Adorning the neck with organic materials, beads, gemstones and precious metals has a long history stretching into pre-historic civilizations. Carvings and paintings from as early as 3000 BC, have been unearthed and show gods and royalty bejewelled with striking neckpieces. Clearly a sign of wealth and prominence in all societies, necklaces have been used as status symbols, ceremonial tokens, protective emblems, symbols of faith, celebratory items and gifts. Ancient Egyptians, wore decorative chokers, collars and neckpieces with bright gemstones and faience details. The ancient Romans favoured colour and added beads of glass alongside twisted gold and precious gemstones. Styles remained quite primitive until technology advanced in the 17th century allowing an array of exotic gemstones to be faceted.
By the Georgian period these advancements contributed to quite elaborate designs featuring precious gemstones, intricate links and fine enamel decoration. The populace became fascinated with the allure of the diamond, thus inventing the rivière diamond necklace. Reserved for society's elite, diamond set necklaces continued to evolve into more decadent designs. The sophisticated construction of necklaces continued well into the Victorian era when memento mori jewellery became fashionable. Jewellers of this period created necklaces which included Whitby jet and dark coloured gemstones with intricate skeletal motifs.
Decorative necklaces formed one element in a set of jewellery known as parures, which often included a matching set of earrings, bracelet and necklace all including the same motifs, settings and gemstones. Many of these parure sets were adorning society’s most fashionable ladies in the 18th and 19th centuries. Creative jewellers also designed alterable neckpieces which could be worn a number of ways, converting into tiaras, brooches, bracelets and pendants. New geometric gemstone shapes in the Art Deco period made way for exciting new settings. Geometrically styled chokers, spray necklaces and mixed gemstone neck pieces were embraced and continue to inspire jewellers today.