27/01/2023 Latest News
The Georgian period (1714-1830) lasted for over one hundred years and was a period of enlightenment, with the increase in glamourous social events among the upper classes. Candles were an important contributor to this increase because they provided much brighter light which in turn brought diamonds and coloured gemstones to life as they twinkled in the candlelight. This resulted in an important period in history for jewellery design and the current desire for Georgian jewellery.
Our auction which was held on the 11th November 2022 was named after Mrs Fisher who had amassed a rare and beautiful collection of Georgian jewellery which we were honoured to sell for her family following her death. This collection attracted bidders from across the world, and the results were truly incredible.
Our auctioneer Jessica is often asked why Georgian jewellery seems to sell so well, and she believes it is down to the characteristics, age and rarity of the pieces made during the Georgian period, with this auction full of such examples:
Characteristics of Georgian Jewellery
Georgian jewellery is very distinctive due to the combination of silver and gold with irregular facets of old cut stone which provide their romantic sparkle, and a classic example of this can be seen in lot 105, an old cut paste set bracelet and matching choker which took £1,700 under the hammer, and lot 35; a silver and old cut gem set oval brooch and similar hat pin which reached £650.
This En Tremblant brooch features a trembler that gives movement to the pin so that it would catch the light and appear to sparkle even more as the wearer danced in the candlelight. This example is in the form of a floral spray, with its original presentation box, and sold for £440:
Assaying was not enforced until the 1900s, and therefore authentic Georgian jewellery will not be applied with hallmarks or makers marks.
Georgian period jewellers used enclosed foil backs to the gemstones to enhance their scintillation by the light of candles, of which the Fisher Collection had many examples. Lot 57 was a stunning Georgian silver, rose gold and gem set brooch £3,700.
The Georgians also used their jewellery as a form of expression, in the form of mourning or lovers jewellery. Lot 59 was a particularly rare example, set with white paste stones bordering a hand painted porcelain plaque depicting a woman and dog beside a monument which bidders took to a final hammer price of £4,200.
Jewellery composed of hair was also created to commemorate the passing of loved ones, and considered very stylish, and the example above is no exception, being of navette form, and depicting a memorial urn bordered with white foil backed paste stones which sold for £460.
Other materials such as coral, agate, and shell were used in the Georgian period, to create pieces such as this cameo brooch, lot 27, with gold setting which achieved £1,300 when going under the hammer and this fine micromosaic pendant necklace which made £2,200.
A fine example of a coral set can be seen above in it’s original presentation case and not surprisingly made £2,400 on the day.
Parure was very en vogue in the Georgian period and lot 1 is a classic example of a convertible piece, as it is a brooch which doubles as a pendant, and also separates into a smaller pendant as well. Not surprisingly this specimen made £2,600 which kicked the auction off with delightful applaud.
Dog collars or chokers were popular necklace styles in the Georgian period, as well as Chatelaines which is a piece of jewellery that had tools or accessories that dangled from hooks attached to their belts such as scissors, watches, notebooks, eyeglasses, and other practical items. Lot 123 is an example of a chatelaine from which hung a shell form snuff box and which sold for £440. Furthermore, chain link necklaces either in gold or gilt metal also saw some impressive hammer prices on auction day, including this delightful example with a hand form clasp which saw a result of £6,000 pictured below
Notable archaeological discoveries as well as wars also affected Georgian jewellery design, for example the excavation of the ruins of Pompeii, Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign and European wars were the inspiration for Fer de Berlin jewellery epitomised in lot 87 in which Greek portraits were displayed on black lacquered scrollwork bracelets, and even in this condition made a huge £3,400.
Girandole earrings were very popular in this period, and their shape is reminiscent of the candelabras of the Georgian times, and included in the collection was a delightful pair, with old cut diamonds set in white metal which sold for £1,300.
The rarest piece we had to offer from the collection was a natural pearl necklace, lot 12, with an emerald and diamond set clasp, which was taken to an impressive hammer price of £21,000 when two European bidders fought it out on the telephone and internet to the great delight of our auctioneer Jessica Wall. Natural pearls of this period are incredibly rare and therefore sought after, and this, together with the beauty of the emerald and diamond clasp left people in awe.