A jewellery ensemble can be as unique as the person wearing the jewellery. It is a collection that can be added to over the years, marking life’s important occasions with a special new piece of jewellery. Circumstances prompting a new addition traditionally could be the Wedding Day, a special anniversary, or new arrival to the family. Your ensemble could be composed of any combination of jewellery items such as a ring, pair of earrings, necklace, pendant, bracelet or even a brooch.
Jewellery is frequently selected to compliment the chosen engagement ring to create a special jewellery suite. The desired ensemble can be composed of coordinating - or contrasting items of jewellery, chosen to follow for instance the ‘cluster’ theme, a particular gemstone such as sapphire or even items of a specific period such as jewellery from the Edwardian era.
Jewellery ensembles have been significant historically. A ‘parure’ or ‘demi-parure’ was a matching set of several items of gemset jewellery, with the name appropriately coming from the Old French for ‘adornment’. A phenomenon popular in 17th century Europe, the set could include pieces such as several brooches, earrings, necklace and a tiara or comb. Napoleon was particularly fond of parures and gave several magnificent sets to his wife Josephine which can be viewed today in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Parures were often very versatile and items could be disassembled to create varied options for wear such as a necklace being transformed into a pair of bracelets and a brooch!
In 18th and 19th century France, a popular tradition was for the groom to present his bride with a ‘corbeille de mariage,’ - a basket containing a number of important items which effectively completed the symbolic transformation from being a young unmarried girl to a mature married woman of importance in society. It was thought that a married woman reflected the wealth of her husband, so it was necessary for him to provide her with an assortment of fancy goods to wear and flaunt. This basket would contain luxuries, such as a cashmere shawl, gloves, a fan, lace and most importantly her first item or two of gemset jewellery to parade at evening parties.
To participate in the historically important social activity of commencing- or adding to- your own jewellery parure, let us inspire you with our collection of exceptional antique and vintage pieces.