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  • Writer's pictureAntiques in Oxford

Georgian diamond jewellery


jewellery from the mid-18th Century to the end of George IV’s reign (1830) is just beautiful. They have a style that can be very modern looking. A typical necklace might be a ‘collet riviere’ which is line of graduated diamonds mounted in silver. Gold was rarely used until after the 1830s. The style is very simple which makes it easy to wear.

The diamonds themselves often came from dried-up river beds in India and Brazil. The 20 carat diamonds would just be lying there! These alluvial diamonds are often of great purity and have a beautiful ‘watery’ white colour. Their colour is one of the reasons they are highly sought after today.

The other reason is their enticing brilliance. Today, diamonds are cut for their perfect symmetry and flash, but Georgian gems are more subtle. They were often cushion-cut (a squarish shape with rounded corners), foiled at the back of the setting to give them a bit of additional sparkle and fully enclosed in the mount. The stones are not regular in their proportions either which gives each design an individuality. Not all Georgian jewellery is super valuable. Brooches for instance may not be so fashionable at the moment. This a sensible area for a collector. A desirable necklace or ring will make substantial money, £5000-£10,000 quite easily. If the piece is in its original box then that will add a pedigree. If the box bears the name of a key retailer such as Royal Jewellers Rundell, Bridge & Rundle, the value will rise dramatically.

The cut of the stone and the style of the setting can be a strong indicator as to the date of the piece. Broadly speaking, gems became more symmetrical and the settings opened out through the 19th Century. So Victorian diamonds sparkle more than Georgian ones.

Georgian jewellery is rare today. Look for an irregularly cut stone in a silver mount and closed back, it could be Georgian.

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