With autumn just a breath away we are dreaming of amber rays of sunshine and fall brides. There’s something very special about a fall bride – she bridges the gap of gothic winter glam and ethereal summer lightness. And fall weddings have all the magic of an unexpectedly warm day in the middle of October – leaves in fiery reds and oranges, gathering around a bonfire at night, warm mugs of spiked cider clutched in hand.
Our engagement ring of the week is a striking statement piece for the autumn bride who wants to carry the magic of an Indian summer around with her everyday. The Old European cut diamond surrounded by onyx in this Art Deco setting is an unconventional yet timeless choice, as surprising and enchanting as a crisp 75-degree day on the autumnal equinox.
Charm guests of your out of town ceremony, or cherished members of the wedding party, with equally surprising treasures made all the more special, as they’ll be personalized by yours truly.
A Spirited Gift Box: More luxurious than any hotel mini bar could ever be, fill the boxes with the fixings for a killer fall cocktail
Native wildflower seeds in hand packaged vials as favors will have guests of the wedding reliving the romance of your autumnal nuptials the following year
Home made, hand poured, hard perfume in vintage lockets (sourced from Etsy) are an inexpensive treasure sure to make bridesmaids forgive the floor length red gown they can “wear again”
Are any of you fall brides to be? How will you infuse your festivities with the romance of the season? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Compared to most things we wear, jewelry is unique in that it is resistant to the heavy hand of time. Other materials we dress ourselves in inevitably wear, tear, and rot. But if cared for properly, jewels from over one hundred years ago can be worn today– still beautiful and still stylish! In this blog segment, “The Way They Wore It”, I will present old paintings and photographs that show how jewels were originally worn alongside similar pieces from our collection. Following suit with our January theme, my first posting will feature ladies who posed with their compartmental keepsakes.
A young Queen Victoria is depicted in the painting above, donning a simple golden locket. I wonder if you might find the likeness of Prince Albert inside– this was painted around 1840, the year of their marriage!
This Victorian lady in this early photograph is wearing a book chain suspending an ovular locket similar to one in our collection. Book chains are perfect for large lockets since they are chunky in appearance, but usually quite light in weight.
Here we have an oil painting from 1857 titled “Miss Ashton Seated at the Piano”. Our bracelet to the right is assembled from Victorian components refashioned in the style of Miss Ashton’s locket that dangles from her wrist.
The portrait locket depicted in this miniature painting from around 1900 is reminiscent of the locket featured in last week’s blog. If you would like learn what makes him so special, click here!
Painting of Mrs. John Sherman byAbraham Delanoy, 1786 from Jewelry in America: 1600-1900 by Martha Gandy Fales
Portrait of Queen Victoria by Herbert Smith, ca. 1840
Photograph of woman wearing a book chain and locket, Collecting Victorian Jewelry by C. Jeanenne Bell
Miss Ashton Seated at the Piano by Joseph Jopling, 1857 from the Victoria & Albert Museum website
Carte de Visite, 1874, from the Victoria & Albert Museum website
Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1900 from American Portrait Miniatures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
There is no denying that we at Doyle & Doyle are inordinately enthusiastic about jewelry. Of course we foremost love jewelry because it is pretty, but it is the pieces that bear contextual significance that really get us going! Unless you inspect, feel, magnify, compare, and research jewelry all day long, the importance of a really special jewel isn’t always obvious. My new blog segment, “Why We Love It” will take a closer look at some of our most unusual pieces and detail what it is that makes us swoon!
This locket is one of those pieces that has captivated us since it first came to the store, and the wonder has yet to cease! It is what the Germans might call a Gesamtkunstwerk, or “total work of art”. The piece is made of 18 karat gold, platinum, diamonds, glass, ivory, and watercolor paint. It dates to the early 1900s and is quite impressive in scale– about 2 ½ inches long. The front is decorated with guilloche enamel. Guilloche refers to a type of machine engraving that was especially popular in jewelry of early 20th century. Engine turning machines create intricate repeating patterns that precisely engrave the metal, similar in function to a spirograph toy. The incised metal was then covered with a layer of transparent enamel, resulting in a subtle three-dimensionality captured beneath the glossy surface.
Enamel is finely ground glass that is fused to a metal base by kiln firing. Noxious substances, such as mercury and lead, were used in antique enamels that resulted in beautifully saturated, but delicate hues. These amazing colors in enamel jewelry of yore are unparalleled by modern (albeit non-toxic) formulas. The bail is also covered in a blanket of purple, and is in pristine condition. A thin stripe of white enamel circumscribes the locket and really makes the platinum and diamond medallion in the center pop! The medallion is exemplary of the Edwardian style popular in the early 1900s: all white and very lacy.
However much I love the front of this awesome locket, my favorite part is when you flip it over. The entire back side showcases a hand painted miniature portrait of a very dapper gentlemen (whose name I ponder often) framed under glass. Before photography, one had to rely on the skilled hand of an artist to capture the likeness of a loved one, and only the wealthy could afford such a service. Before 1700, miniatures were painted with watercolors on vellum, a fine animal skin. Between 1700 and 1900, the canvas of choice was a thin sheet of ivory. It is special that this locket contains a painting; photography had been around for over fifty years and painted portraits were quickly phasing out.
The watercolor on ivory portrait in this locket is masterfully executed. When viewed under magnification, you can see the individual hairs of our monsieur’s eyebrows– it is exquisite! The major drawback to watercolor paint is its proclivity to fade over a short period of time. This painting is incredibly vivid considering its age.
This locket is beautiful. There is no denying that! But what makes it so much more exciting is the combination of multiple media, expert craftsmanship, and historical techniques on top of excellent condition!
Posted on January 5th, 2011 by Alison. Filed under History.
Onyx is a black type of chalcedony quartz, a mineral that has long been fashioned into jewelry by polishing it into cabochons and beads. The glossy and smooth finish of black onyx provides an ideal canvas to showcase bright gemstone and metal plaques– the colors and details exhibit wonderfully!
Jet is a unique type of fossilized driftwood– naturally black in color, very light in weight, and either matte or polished in finish. Jet has been used in personal adornments since prehistoric times. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that a jet cross was an antidote to witchcraft.Jet experienced its peak in popularity during Victorian times: it was the only acceptable material to be worn as jewelry during full mourning. Rich deposits of this material exist near Whitby, England where factories that produced the jewelry thrived. The most common forms fashioned from jet were chunky chains, geometric earrings, long strands of beads, and medallions with intricate carvings.
Enamel is finely ground glass powder fused to a metal base. Black enamel on a gold background was especially popular at the end of the 19th century. Intricate designs were carved into the metal and enamel filled the crevices, creating fine patterns and a dramatic contrast between the deep black and rich gold.
Click here to see more black beauties!
Posted on December 16th, 2009 by Lauren. Filed under Gifts.
Oh Mommy Dearest. One of the hardest people to buy for, and that’s why she is first on my list of great holiday gift picks:
Moms love stud earrings. I know this for a fact. Pick her favorite color and go to town. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Amethyst Stud Earrings:
Moms love anything sentimental, especially if it involves something cute that you once did when you were 11. Hard to believe that someone would want to keep a photo of you wearing an ugly dance costume, but if anyone does, it’s your mom. Give her something much prettier to put these questionable keepsakes in. I recommend this Heart Locket:
Brooches have always seemed to me like that perfect ‘mom gift’. At this point, you know mom has that one necklace that she won’t ever take off, or that she refuses to wear any ring but the one she got on her wedding day. Brooches occupy that safe space of a piece of jewelry that mom would always be happy to have. Why not give her the most glamorous one you can find? My favorite is this Retro 1940s Diamond Flower Brooch, go mama!
Posted on October 8th, 2009 by Lauren. Filed under History.
October is Halloween’s month – a time when all things scary, dark and a little bit weird are allowed to come out and play.
Victorian-era jewelry is fashioned from some uncommon design materials – hair, black enamel, coral and seed pearls – and utilizes themes and motifs such as animals, flora and memory to a fetching end.
Whether it be coral grape cluster earrings, a black enameled locket or a ruby-set snake ring – draping yourself in Victorian jewelry is so much better than wearing a Halloween costume.
Here are a few dark beauties that have me under a spell:
This Knights of Pythias Fob on a Hair Chain ($350) is indeed made from real hair. Weaving hair jewelry became a popular drawing room pastime during the Victorian era. As photographs weren’t common, or cheap, at the time, wearing someone’s hair on your person became a tangible substitute.
Made from calcareous skeltons of marine animals, otherwise known as coral, these Coral Grape Cluster Earrings ($1500) are a great example of the popularity of coral jewelry during the Victorian era. Victorians loved coral, both because it was believed to posses the power to ward off evil and danger, and for its ease to work with – it also fills the perfect niche for designs calling for accents of leaves and flowers.
It’s crazy that not even the delicate seed pearls of this Victorian Pearl and Enamel Locket ($1200) are its most beautiful design feature. The face is also decorated with fine lines of black enamel and a raised floral pattern that gives it a feeling both goth and romantic.
After being a hit at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851, enameling was revivied in many forms during the 19th century. A fine example is this Black Trace Enamel Gold Bangle Bracelet ($985). For me, the design conjures aspects of embellished 19th century architecture.
I will not repeat that snake line from Indiana Jones when describing snake jewelry ever, ever again. That said, I love snakes, as did the Victorians. While some may view them as slithery, and slightly creepy, I say yes, they are, and that is just their allure. This Ruby Set Snake Ring ($850) has slithered its way into my heart, and perhaps onto my hand?
Posted on March 13th, 2009 by Lauren. Filed under Weddings.
The early 1940s saw the onset of World War II, and although the war made the fashions of the time more austere and fitted, wedding fashion stayed romantic.
Wedding jewelry of the time leaned toward more sentimental pieces – lockets, pendant necklaces and, more noticeably, cross necklaces. Dresses of the time were fitted, some brides got married in two-piece dress suits, and tended towards more elaborate necklines. Some brides even got married in their own military wear.
Many brides were marrying their army sweethearts before they were shipped off to war, so wearing a locket on your wedding could hold double meaning- to keep the memory of your wedding, and of your husband, with you always.
While many brides opted for simple weddings officiated by a justice of the peace, traditional church weddings still occurred.
For the modern girl that wants to showcase her Catholic or Christian faith at her wedding, a cross is a perfect wedding accessory. This Diamond Cross Necklace ($1800), set with both round brilliant and rose cut diamonds, is a particularly beautiful example.