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Need help identifying vintage/antique heirloom diamond necklace!?

annagene12

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
28
Hello wonderful PSers!

I need your knowledge and generosity to help me identify this diamond necklace! I have no information on it really. My goal is to figure out the era of this piece so I can make sure the setting is in good shape (no loose diamonds), properly cleaned, and have it appraised and insured with the right specialist, but I have no idea where to start. It looks like Victorian designs I have seen...?

As far as I know, this is the family lore - my German Jewish grandfather fled Nazi Germany in 1938, and brought among his things three pieces of jewelry (whether he thought them to be most valuable, or if it was a matter of preference, or if they were meant to be tender in case of unsavory run-ins with police - it is unclear). Funnily enough, he'd end up having three children, each of whom was given one of the three pieces, including: an ancient, solid gold Roman coin set in a pendant, a pearl and diamond brooch, and the diamond necklace, that I have come to you about, because it was given to my mother.

The case appears original, or it was at least custom made for the necklace at some point, it nestles into a molded velvet base. I included photos to help identify. There is NO stamp on it anywhere and I know very little about jewelry, and apologies in advance for the subpar photos. It looks like white gold or silver (maybe plated? I see warm tones of metal in the back), seems to have the original chain, and a separate item designed to turn it into a brooch (in YG? don't know if it is original or not). The pendant is attached onto the chain via a decorative hook that reminds me of dangly earrings. It's hard to see in my terrible photos!

I would appreciate any insights or recommendations that you have to offer! :geek2:

IMG-4573.JPG IMG-4572.JPG IMG-4583.JPG IMG-4584.JPG IMG-4586.JPG IMG-4592.JPG IMG-4585.JPG IMG-4589.JPG
 

stracci2000

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
3,190
Wow, beautiful! A real treasure from your family.
This piece looks late Georgian period to me. (1714-1837)
It may once have been an earring.
I'm sure our antique jewelry experts will chime in soon!
Calling @Bron357 , @PreRaphaelite , @JPie , @VRBeauty @StephanieLynn
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,132
Wow, what a lovely, stunning, piece! Unfortunately I have no guesstimates or even informed guesses to add. I think it would be worth your while to have this appraised by someone knowledgeable in antique jewelry, possibly even one of the larger auction houses. And by all means, get it insured!
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
4,661
No help at all except it looks like a convertible piece that comes with a brooch attachment, and it is very lovely.

Thanks for sharing.

DK :love:
 

PreRaphaelite

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
1,485
I agree that it looks Late Georgian, but I think it was meant to. The largest stones are mine cut, collet set in the Georgian style, so that seems right at first glance.

However, the spray of foliates around that, in spite of being a faithful representation of the Georgian cut-leaf motif, have stones that are rather too generous and too closely-seated for the mounts, and the stones all over the piece are very round indeed, suggesting they were cut and polished a bit later, perhaps after 1870 with the rise of the bruting wheel.

The kicker is the smooth-bezel-set stone at the termination of the top left flourish, as well as the clean, almost precision-cut azures beneath the entire piece. That kind of detail is Victorian and Edwardian. So my opinion is that this is an Homage to the Georgian look... made to look as if it were an assemblage of inherited stones. Which, maybe it was? Anyway, Very cool.

I hope the appraiser will do an electronic metal analysis rather than the more basic acid test, as that would give us much more information. If the gold content comes up as 9k or 15k, it will be English. If 18k, it might be from anywhere in Europe. This refined style was very popular in many major cities. At any rate, it is exceedingly beautiful. Congratulations!
 

EC8

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
174
I echo others’ suggestion to have it appraised, but based on the backs being open vs. closed and some of the stones look like they are OEC vs. OMC I think it is more likely Victorian vs. Georgian.
Beautiful!
 

annagene12

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
28
I agree that it looks Late Georgian, but I think it was meant to. The largest stones are mine cut, collet set in the Georgian style, so that seems right at first glance.

However, the spray of foliates around that, in spite of being a faithful representation of the Georgian cut-leaf motif, have stones that are rather too generous and too closely-seated for the mounts, and the stones all over the piece are very round indeed, suggesting they were cut and polished a bit later, perhaps after 1870 with the rise of the bruting wheel.

The kicker is the smooth-bezel-set stone at the termination of the top left flourish, as well as the clean, almost precision-cut azures beneath the entire piece. That kind of detail is Victorian and Edwardian. So my opinion is that this is an Homage to the Georgian look... made to look as if it were an assemblage of inherited stones. Which, maybe it was? Anyway, Very cool.

I hope the appraiser will do an electronic metal analysis rather than the more basic acid test, as that would give us much more information. If the gold content comes up as 9k or 15k, it will be English. If 18k, it might be from anywhere in Europe. This refined style was very popular in many major cities. At any rate, it is exceedingly beautiful. Congratulations!
Very insightful. Thank you SO much for the kind and thorough detail. I was a bit confused about the quality of cuts myself, and the bezel settings...maybe it was an assembly of inherited stones, I wish I knew more, but I will have to let the jewelry speak for itself!

I’m excited to get it appraised and tested properly, I appreciate the recommendations. Now the task is finding a good appraiser that specializes in this type of analysis. I am in Chicago, so I am sure is a pro residing somewhere!

I am lucky to have this piece in my care...it seemed unusual.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,132
That bezel-set stone is incongruous. It’s possible it was a later addition or repair.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,132
I have some very old pieces I inherited from my grandmother, a set of three small matched pins. They have about 15 diamonds total. 14 are very wonky old mine cuts. One is an early transitional cut. Clearly in that case, the transitional cut stone is a replacement for an earlier OMC that was lost (most likely) or maybe my grandmother decided to “upgrade” the original stone at some point. And when I converted one of those pins into a pendant, I had trouble getting the pendant to hang straight because the original pin was not symmetrical. So a very clever jewelry designer added a new design element - a thin curve of gold that echoed the lines of the original pin - that made the pendant hang correctly. The point is, that one stone and it’s setting might have been added later for some reason. It happens.
 
Last edited:

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
3,522
How fabulous.
Yes I’m going with late Georgian / early Victorian as well.
It’s a convertible piece, pendant or brooch. How extra fabulous to have the original box as well.
Love, wear and enjoy your family treasure.
 

EllenS1

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
142
Hello wonderful PSers!

I need your knowledge and generosity to help me identify this diamond necklace! I have no information on it really. My goal is to figure out the era of this piece so I can make sure the setting is in good shape (no loose diamonds), properly cleaned, and have it appraised and insured with the right specialist, but I have no idea where to start. It looks like Victorian designs I have seen...?

As far as I know, this is the family lore - my German Jewish grandfather fled Nazi Germany in 1938, and brought among his things three pieces of jewelry (whether he thought them to be most valuable, or if it was a matter of preference, or if they were meant to be tender in case of unsavory run-ins with police - it is unclear). Funnily enough, he'd end up having three children, each of whom was given one of the three pieces, including: an ancient, solid gold Roman coin set in a pendant, a pearl and diamond brooch, and the diamond necklace, that I have come to you about, because it was given to my mother.

The case appears original, or it was at least custom made for the necklace at some point, it nestles into a molded velvet base. I included photos to help identify. There is NO stamp on it anywhere and I know very little about jewelry, and apologies in advance for the subpar photos. It looks like white gold or silver (maybe plated? I see warm tones of metal in the back), seems to have the original chain, and a separate item designed to turn it into a brooch (in YG? don't know if it is original or not). The pendant is attached onto the chain via a decorative hook that reminds me of dangly earrings. It's hard to see in my terrible photos!

I would appreciate any insights or recommendations that you have to offer! :geek2:

IMG-4573.JPG IMG-4572.JPG IMG-4583.JPG IMG-4584.JPG IMG-4586.JPG IMG-4592.JPG IMG-4585.JPG IMG-4589.JPG
Wow what history what a treasure!
 

annagene12

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
28
Thank you all so much! It’s so fun to think about all of the things that these pieces of jewelry would tell us if they could speak...they’ve lived entire lives before coming into our possession! I appreciate the thought, detail and insights everyone has offered! I knew I came to the right place
 

PreRaphaelite

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
1,485
It goes without saying that this piece is very finely made, but it might also be useful to note that it would likely have been part of a set. A Parure, or Demi-Parure, perhaps. So the markings would be well-hidden, and in some cases markings were originally placed only on the larger pieces in the set. So don’t fret if under close examination you don’t see any stamps! The construction itself reveals quite a lot.
 

annagene12

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
28
Good to know, a bit reassuring - I cannot find any stamp or markings on a second inspection.

However, I can say that the suspicions that the one bezel set diamond was a later addition seems even more likely - it is clear the diamond is a more modern cut than the rest, it lacks the cut off culet (the others look like OEC, not OMC) and this one looks more like an RB, and the metal attaching the bezel from behind looks like solid 18k gold - unlike the rest which seems to be plated or another metal.

I have never heard of a Parure or the like, interesting - perhaps this was an earring originally, and converted if the remaining collection was split or lost (my grandfather had multiple siblings). Still need to get the darn thing appraised, although I had a jeweler friend look at it. She owns a jewelry store and makes high end jewelry, and has some knowledge of antiques but mostly coins. She remarked that the value of the piece is likely more than the sum of its parts given the size of the diamonds.

I have to say - each time I take the piece out I am wowed by the fire and whiteness of the diamonds. They may be small but they *really* pack a punch!
 

PreRaphaelite

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
1,485
Appraisal is a very good idea, and you’re right that the sum is worth more than the parts. The Georgian style is an acquired taste, but for the right buyer, an intact piece is much more attractive.

Frankly, I’m jealous! A wonderful piece. I hope you’ll wear it in good health for years to come.
 
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