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Over 100 year old diamond cluster pendant, earrings and ring from grandma

Discussion in 'Antique and Vintage Jewelry' started by hunde, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 16, 2019
    Hi all!

    I have been following this forum for a while now and decided to write up my first post about some antique jewelry I recently received from my husband's grandmother.

    Some background story:
    The elderly lady - my husband's grandma - is slowly clearing out her jewelry boxes and has gifted some of the most precious pieces to her own granddaughters already. She has accumulated some very nice jewelry, some passed down to her & her late husband and some bought by her locally and some bought by her husband during his business travels abroad. For example, I saw one stunning ring with a large stone that was changing colors depending on the light! It was purple in one light and in other light more blue/green.

    About a month ago my husband's mother recommended the grandmother to give her remaining pieces to me, and she actually decided to gift me some of her jewelry as well. Needless to say I was extremely touched by this heartwarming gesture. Some of her pieces have been in the family for over hundred years. I received some more modern jewelry plus this antique jewelry set which is truly stunning. I fell in love with it at first sight and I am bound to treasure it and pass it down to our kids. Especially the earrings are beautiful.

    However one concern I have with the set is the age and the current condition. The ring is missing two tiny diamonds and the center diamond appears cracked. My grandma says she hasn't really worn the jewelry, has just kept the set safely in the box.

    I have pretty much no experience in antique jewelry so I would like to learn more about this set and what to do with it. I would love to wear the earrings and pendant but I fear damaging them / losing stones.

    Some questions:
    • Should I have them repaired? Would it be very expensive?
    • Can I wear them without repair?
    • How old do you think the set is?
    • What is the value of this kind of jewelry, is it worth having it insured? Or is the value purely sentimental?
    The set is quite heavy, weighs about 25g. The back is gold but the front is silver color so perhaps set in silver? The diamonds look quite hazy/milky. The pendant and earrings are in far better shape than the ring. Though the metal in the ring seems fine. There are beautiful engravings in the ring.

    Here are some images, I will try take better ones tomorrow. I don't know much about the story behind them. She received the set from her husband's family.

    IMG_6841.jpg IMG_6843.jpg IMG_6840.jpg

    Thank you for all the advice in advance ! :)
     
    


    


  2. alltheflorals
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    by alltheflorals » Aug 16, 2019
    I can't answer on most of your questions, but re: your comment on the haze, I will say a proper cleaning by a qualified jeweler will do wonders for old stones/jewelry. They should know whether it would be safe to sonicate or just steam. I purchased a vintage 1920s ring and there was dirt all caught up in the filigree. Sonicator cleared it all up and the ring was dazzling afterwards!

    Beautiful set though! I have a soft spot for floral motifs!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  3. stracci2000
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    by stracci2000 » Aug 16, 2019
    Beautiful set!
    These are rose cuts, so they probably have foiled backs.
    This may be why they seem cloudy. I'm not sure about the age. The set looks Victorian, but the spring earring
    clasp looks newer, maybe replaced in mid century.
    Other PSers who know more about Rose cuts will chime in soon!
     
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  4. Diamondless
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    by Diamondless » Aug 16, 2019
    Could you post photos of the backs? It usually helps with dating to see how it’s put together. But the set is beautiful regardless
     
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  5. meely
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    by meely » Aug 16, 2019
    Oh wow they are beautiful, but that ring looks very well worn! You definitely need to show the back and some close ups. They look Georgian to me but perhaps they are replicas. Did they come in their own box?
     
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  6. StephanieLynn
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    by StephanieLynn » Aug 16, 2019
    Wow that is a spectacular set! I echo the rose cut vote and I would encourage you to have these looked over by a competent jeweler familiar with antiques as it's never a good idea to wear jewelry that's damaged, you could cause further damage or loose a stone etc.

    Gosh the detail work on the band on that ring is :lickout:
     
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  7. JPie
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    by JPie » Aug 16, 2019
    The diamonds look hazy because they’re foiled rose cuts. Getting them wet will further oxidize the foil and make them look even darker and hazier, so make sure you consult with a jeweler who specializes in antiques if you want to clean them.

    The “crack” in one of the diamonds might be an inclusion but it’s hard to see from the photos. The set looks Victorian to me.

    Try Jewelry Nerd if you are interested in a professional evaluation of everything. She specializes in antiques. https://instagram.com/jewelrynerd?igshid=12gsgzec3x7hh
     
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  8. kgizo
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    by kgizo » Aug 17, 2019
    You have a beautiful set and are so lucky to have all the pieces intact!
     
  9. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 17, 2019
    79AB5698-EE54-46BD-867A-40951049DD63.jpeg 2CD2F839-C38A-4565-86C8-BE5430B9299F.jpeg B3BD8153-1264-4AD1-8C82-E4E4D1A37352.jpeg DD9F6A09-D740-41B6-AECD-C5F1F1C24047.jpeg 3F89C4DA-786D-4991-9B48-3E077ABAD717.jpeg CBAE14CE-9E9F-421D-A5AD-FCB40B5FA4CA.jpeg 788D151F-93C9-4841-8A0C-50A581B0F2B0.jpeg 8230005A-1E6C-4462-9451-75F1E8FB768F.jpeg 40EB5E73-06BB-4F4F-B064-57D2FC80154F.jpeg

    Thank you all very much for your comments and compliments! I adore the set as well and wish I’ll be able to safely wear them one day.

    After some googling yes they look like rose cut diamonds with foiled backs. Indeed behind the lost rocks is foil. How is jewelry like this normally restored? Do they remove the foil or replace it? They are beautiful even with hazy stones though.

    I got no box with them, just took them home wrapped in some tissue paper. She had them in her big jewelry box.

    Sorry for the delay, here are finally some new more detailed pictures :)
     
  10. GliderPoss
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    by GliderPoss » Aug 18, 2019
    I'd also get this stone checked out by a professional - maybe a Alexandrite?

    "For example, I saw one stunning ring with a large stone that was changing colors depending on the light! It was purple in one light and in other light more blue/green."
     
    


    


  11. Daisys and Diamonds
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    by Daisys and Diamonds » Aug 18, 2019
    just my 2 cents
    but please don't wear them if they need repair
    when i inherited my jewlery the first thing i did was take it to get checked over, sized, cleaned and valued
    my mum wore her jewlery but she took her rings regularly to her jewler to be checked but if your hubbie's grandma didn't wear them alot they may have been sitting in her jerlwey box for years and years desperately needing some minor repairs that might turn in to heart ache when a stone falls out while the ring is on your finger

    i think the most lovelly thing about this gift is that this grandma is still with you, to give you the jewlery

    edited to fix spelling
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  12. Daisys and Diamonds
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    by Daisys and Diamonds » Aug 18, 2019
    so beautiful
    the grandad choose well !
     
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  13. Bron357
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    by Bron357 » Aug 19, 2019
    I’ll put my money on them being Georgian ie earlier than Victorian. Looks like silver tops on yellow gold.
    The diamonds, being old rose cut, are as they are. Not cut for dispersion and foiled back because otherwise they are “see through”.
    Restoration work needs to be delicately handled, I see one at least in missing and removing the age earnt patina from the silver in my opinion not a good idea. I would check each of the diamonds with a fingernail to see if any wiggle / move in the setting. If yes, don’t wear the pieces until a jeweller has checked them.
    But no, nothing can be done to make the diamonds more sparkly like todays diamonds, they have a unique and stunning beauty just as they are.
    Georgian jewellery is worth much more than the sum of the parts (gold weight and diamond carat weight) fine pieces, especially a set, are keenly sought by collectors.
     
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  14. Bron357
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    by Bron357 » Aug 19, 2019
    You might need to confirm they are diamonds as glass (paste) was also used.
    Given their beauty, I can see the earrings being worth $8,000 plus, the ring $3,000 or so, the pendant another $2,000 or $3,000 but as a set - I imagine a collector would pay more than $20,000.
     
  15. meely
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    by meely » Aug 19, 2019
    I’ve been puzzling over this. Having had a look at the photos I did a bit of researchwhich unfortunately got guzzled as my post disappeared :(. Sorry I did have a load of links before but it would be a load of work to find them again.
    What I found briefly -
    Rings are definitely Georgian (1714-1830) in style. Rose cuts with foiled closed backs, engraving, silver mounts.
    But I couldn’t find any examples of Georgian rings like this. All the ones I could find only had a single halo and were much more time worn, they also typically featured much more irregular stones.
    CC7C34D9-4E8E-4D65-8DCC-BE047F142A65.jpeg
    I also looked to see if this could be Victorian as the Victorians loved sets (which is why I asked about a box). I could find a couple of examples of foiled back rose cut rings which dealers claimed to date from around 1850 but I’m not sure on what basis and they were not like yours.
    B4AE7CB2-2A7F-4A3E-96EB-4B7EB81A2678.jpeg
    I found a few later Victorian rings with double halos in the style of your ring, similar proportions but the execution with totally different. Open backs/mine cut diamonds.
    21C70233-6B3F-46C1-B101-191888734948.jpeg
    None of this is to say your pieces are not Georgian or Victorian, there are arguments for both. I think as earlier recommended you could probably do with consulting an expert in that particular period.

    I also found that there was a Georgian revival period in the 1930s/40s. This ring dates from then and given the condition of your pieces, the fact that they are a set and seemingly intact this might also be a possibility, do you know when the set was acquired as this could rule this option in or out.
    38530E0C-287F-4663-AC94-06DB0B0FC701.jpeg 378E4407-75FD-4561-AF4F-AC90C60066D7.jpeg
     
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  16. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 19, 2019
    Thank you again for all the replies everyone! It's fascinating to find out more about this set. We have talked about a trip to London so when we go, we will take the set with us and visit an antique restoration shop. I found some very promising ones online. Didn't find such experts in our country. Till then, I'll keep them safely in a box.

    @Daisys and Diamonds indeed I love how, thanks to the jewelry, we have my husband's grandparents and even great grandparents with us. And so will our children. I believe this set was bought by someone from the grandfather's side of family and then it was given to my husband's grandmother as the grandfather's side had no direct female descendants.

    @GliderPoss I googled alexandrite stones and it could be it but the stone was far more vivid purple in color, more like an amethyst under inside lighting. Perhaps it could be a synthetic alexandrite? It was bought by the granddad himself some decades ago on his business trip abroad.

    @Bron357 thank you Bron for all the detailed information! To imagine that these could be 200 years old... wow, my head says they're museum stuff then :D The glimmer of the stones is truly different to today's sparkles. It's mesmerizing, nothing like I've seen in modern diamonds or CZ stones. I put them all on at my husband's grandma's place to try them and I felt like a princess - the heavy metal with the shimmer from the stones. Also the "hinges" on the pieces make them dangle adorably.

    I nudged some of the stones lightly and at least few of them appear a bit loose so I'll just keep them in a box till I see an expert. The ring is missing two small stones and the earring one. Do you think restoring these is possible and won't spoil them? I looked at some websites and examples of their restoration work and the after images looked like some brand new modern jewelry just done to mimic the style of antique jewelry. I would not want that to happen with these, rather keep them as they are and just gaze at them.

    Also the value estimation, wow, I thought they might be worth some hundreds or max a thousand but if they're that valuable, I definitely should get them valued and insured. Although, as so often with insurance, no money could replace these if they were lost or stolen... I ordered a diamond tester called diamond selector online. Would this work in identifying them as diamonds instead of paste?
     
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  17. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 19, 2019
    @meely thank you so much for all your research that you did for a jewelry set a stranger posted online! I really appreciate it, you found so much valuable information.

    Based on your images and research, I couldn't rule out the Georgian revival period. All I know is that the grandma got them some 50 years ago from her husband's side of family (from my husband's great grandparents). She never wore them and doesn't remember if there's a story behind them. She just said they would be at least 100 years old based on her own jewelry knowledge, not family stories. She also got them professionally cleaned about a year ago along with all her other jewelry when she started to pass them down to her granddaughters. They are in a good shape to be very very old, especially the gold looks like it's in mint condition. The stones are very clean looking as well and quite well cut in my opinion. I bought a loupe and could try taking more detailed pictures of the stones and their setting with it if that could help?
     
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  18. Bron357
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    by Bron357 » Aug 19, 2019
    I think I can see some hallmarks on the earrings? Photos of these please.
    I still think they are 1850 / 1880 ish. Late Georgian / early Victorian. They may be European made, they show good quality goldsmithing and finish. You’d get an “extra bonus” if they can be IDed as Russian or French.
    And yes, restoration of old jewellery is done by a expert in antique jewellery, not the local Mall jeweller and don’t be swayed by any low ball offers, Ist Dibs and Etsy have similar items for thousands of dollars.
    How exciting for you and your family. It sounds as if there are some lovely pieces so please, get them out of those dusty old boxes and show them off!
     
  19. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 19, 2019
    I believe they are European as well considering the family history and roots. Would love them to be from the 19th century! If only inanimate objects could speak, what wonderful stories they would be able to tell..

    I just saw the mark as well when I looked at my pictures again. I'll try take better pictures of that with a loupe once at home.

    She must have had a very nice collection. My husband's cousins told me that they received some nice jewelry with gemstones, rubies and sapphires at least. Also an old diamond engagement ring was given to the oldest cousin. My husband's mother has received some as well but there are still some "lesser" pieces left that no one wanted. None of them wanted this set either (except perhaps the youngest cousin but it sounds like the grandma isn't willing to give her anymore jewelry, she's going through a bit of a "young, wild and free" -phase at a boarding school and suddenly likes anything that sparkles:D)! Also some items, like the color changing ring she isn't willing to depart with yet. I also got some more modern jewelry and I think I took a picture of the color changing ring. I can post pictures here later. If I get a chance to play with her jewelry again, I'll try take some discreet photos ;)2
     
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  20. Daisys and Diamonds
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    by Daisys and Diamonds » Aug 19, 2019
    so long as Nanna still has some bling left to play with herself
    our mother gold old very young and it was awful having to take her rings off her because the demetia hospital could not guarantee they wouldn't get stolen
     
  21. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 19, 2019
    Unfortunately her fingers are swollen and she has severe scoliosis forcing her back in constant bent position. Thus she claims she can't wear any rings and necklaces that are too long since they hang off her chest uncomfortably. She only wears short pearl necklaces and some earrings. She has clearly detached herself from most of the jewelry emotionally. A lot of the jewelry her husband bought her, she never even wore. They had quite different taste according to her. Somehow sad to think about the grandfather returning from a trip with beautiful jewelry which never gets worn... I received two such pieces and despite them being not exactly "me", I wear them sometimes in remembrance of the sweet, gentle and intelligent man we lost nearly two years ago.
     
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  22. meely
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    by meely » Aug 19, 2019
    @hunde thanks for your kind words, in all honestly it was entirely altruistic, my interest was roused! I normally have a really good feel for when something is made and whether it is a reproduction but I just didn’t get the feels for these! I have also enjoyed hearing about the couple behind the jewelry - one who bought and one who didn’t wear! Despite choosing an engagement ring together and buying together, my Dad has always bought my Mum jewelry whilst abroad on business, there is a real romance to it.
    This just came up on Lang’s earlier, Dutch dating to the mid 20th century.
    https://www.langantiques.com/dutch-georgian-style-rose-cut-diamond-cluster-ring.html
    636603A1-8EEB-4777-B865-67A90EB39FDD.jpeg
    A better example of Georgian revival than the one in my other post, strange coincidence.
    Lang’s might be kind enough to give you a quick opinion if you were to contact them. I’ve never bought from them and don’t know what they are like to deal with but I always feel from their listings that they know what they are talking about if you know what I mean!
    There are a few more details that pique my interest with your jewels.
    The earrings, ring and pendant all look to be the same size. Is that right? I am wondering if they were fashioned out of an initial single piece. From what I’m not sure if, but if it were me making a ‘set’ from scratch I would have probably made them in different scales.
    The seam between silver and gold is very smooth, maybe this was something that the Georgians did, I’m not an expert but I’ve only clocked in on Edwardian and later pieces before.
    I think in reality you need someone who really has handled a lot of antique jewelry to take a look they will probably know straight away! A lot of people deal in Victorian jewellery (1837-1901) but not many in Georgian (1740-1830). I couldn’t help feeling while I was looking that a lot of dealers were fudging the listing and didn’t really know.
     
  23. JPie
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    by JPie » Aug 19, 2019
    The more I look at this set, the more I think it's either Victorian or 20th century Georgian revival. The lever backs on the earrings aren't typical of Georgian findings, which would either open and close in front or be shepherd hooks. The milgrain finish was not very common in Georgian times; that gained popularity early in the 20th century.

    ETA: Can we get a closer look at this hallmark?

    upload_2019-8-19_15-0-26.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  24. Daisys and Diamonds
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    by Daisys and Diamonds » Aug 19, 2019
    oh im sorry to hear you lost grandad
    she must miss him so much
    its kind of nice, even though she didn't exactly love some of that jewlery Grandad gave her, that she's kept it and now gives it to all of you and nore importantly that you wear it
    i hope she got alot of pleasure from giving it and that's sad she is bent and sore but lovelly the pearls still get the love
     
  25. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 20, 2019
    089068A1-8262-42DF-8792-9FB30664719C.jpeg 2BE89B24-1757-4B58-8CAF-C2B956F3C3C0.jpeg FE2BAB9D-EF8A-4243-A285-9C46160E7166.jpeg 9C34F777-A653-4739-B3C3-EC061D0D0C15.jpeg 78785793-CA68-4793-9C0C-D9A6D5197997.jpeg A77B8A1C-45D5-47E4-B767-2288943316B8.jpeg 04FF4046-7E03-45A6-AF80-2FF82A52505F.jpeg 9CE0BA22-E636-40EF-B660-1531EE2B541D.jpeg 023FB121-A486-48FA-9F49-26D0A3C7D221.png Thank you again everyone for your help with this mystery jewelry set and sharing the exciting journey with me!

    @Bron357 and @JPie I found indeed hallmarks on all them when I went through them with a loupe!! Can’t believe I missed them before, just didn’t even think to look. It’s 585 so 14k gold. Also the diamond tester arrived and it tests them as real. I’ve attached pictures.

    Based on your comments and findings from @meely I also wonder if these could be somehow remodeled from one piece? Somehow the gold work looks different from the setting of the diamonds. The front looks worn and truly old whereas the gold colored parts look newer and done differently. I also found a picture of similar round double haloed “flowers” as part of Georgian earrings from a book by Ginny Redington Dawes on Georgian Jewellery. I’ve attached a picture (found online so it’s not so sharp). So this could support the remodeling idea since they’re all same size.

    I also read that Georgian jewelry was typically very light and it was made of thin sheets of metal since casting wasn’t practiced yet. And this set is quite heavy at around 25g all together. Plus the milgrain wasn’t common and they preferred very high purity gold, 18k and up. So these would speak more for the revival period. And the set also looks quite similar to the Langs ring that Meely found..

    We also live in a country were hallmarking jewelry is compulsory. I once ordered a ring from Germany without marks and it got stuck at border, tested and marked. I don’t know if antique jewelry would be an exception but I could imagine any remodeling work getting marked.

    Now I feel I need to book that trip to London ASAP to get some confirmation either way :D
     
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  26. JPie
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    by JPie » Aug 20, 2019
    Thank you for the update! It's so fun trying to solve the mystery of where and when this came from. =)2
     
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  27. Bron357
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    by Bron357 » Aug 20, 2019
    Great news. The 585 (14kt) is European. If Russian the hallmark would have been 56, French hallmarks are to the outside edge of rings at the back and English hallmarking is typically 9ct or 18ct.
    So it may be more “modern” aka revival jewellery but hopefully you can locate a knowledgeable antique jewellery buyer who can give you their thoughts/ opinion.
     
  28. hunde
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    by hunde » Aug 21, 2019
    Thank you Bron! That’s interesting to know. Would’ve never guessed to look for 56 mark for instance in Russian jewellery. I will probably shoot some emails to Langs and other antique dealers I find online this weekend and try my luck with them. Otherwise I must wait until our weekend trip abroad.
    I’ll post any updates here :))
     
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