The Process of Discovery.
A beauty from the past, this bracelet was a treat to research. I would love to walk you through how I went about it.
Let's start with the hallmarks. Two of the three Hallmarks are the same. The ET is a French import mark. It comes about after the Cobden-Chevalier treaty of 1860. This treaty was a commercial trade treaty between France and England. When other countries realized how mutually beneficial the treaty was it inspired them to develop similar treaties with France. The ET mark is used specifically for imports from countries who had not previously partaken in trade treaties with France.
Unfortunately, the third Hallmark is too worn to be identified. The hallmarks only give so much information so it's time to focus more on the materials and the ways in which they are used, as well as the methods used to set the stones.
How beautiful are the pearls on this bracelet! Pearls have an interesting and long history. These pearls are done in the classic pierced style, a style seen during medieval times. While this piece does not date as far back as medieval times, the more baroque style of pearl is helpful in giving it an era. When the Georgian era begins larger pearls are popular, but as the era progresses we see seed pearls coming into play and quickly becoming more popular. If you look at mid Georgian era pieces and the eras that follow the pearls used in jewelry become finer with the exception of Renaissance revival pieces; even the revival pieces handle the pearls differently than true Renaissance jewelry. I was beginning to realize that this bracelet will most likely predate 1720's.
Next to investigate were the collets and enamel. A collet is also known as a bezel setting. I started with pieces from the 1860's and worked my way back in time. The mountings and placement didn't match up with the style seen in this bracelet until the late 17th century. There are three very noticeable differences between collets of the 17th century and 18th century. One is how the stones are set. They are set at a distance from each other in the 17th century, while in Georgian jewelry we see stones placed much more closely together. Second would be the lack decoration or cutting back of the collet. There are no claw or scallop details on our piece. You will see plain collets in the Georgian era, but once again the stones would be set closer together. The third is the how high the collet rises on this piece. As I worked my way back thru time, comparing and contrasting other jewelry to this bracelet, I arrived at pieces dating around the 1680's and things started to fall into place. I started seeing pieces with stones set in a similar manner and also a use of enameling that was very much in line with the bracelet. In fact, in our extensive research library I found some wonderful jewelry that offered great comparisons.
So after much research, I would date this bracelet somewhere between 1680-1700.
Editors note: We were also able to reach the conclusion that this bracelet was modified sometime in the 1800's from its original beginnings in the 17th century. the entirety of the top is a 17th-century piece, the simple gold back hoop dates from the 1800's.
Furthermore, import stamps were put on pieces when a piece traveled from one country to another even if simply being brought in as a personally owned item of an individual.
Blog and research by: Kate Calkins research goddess at Gem Set Love. Her enthusiasm and determination is inspiring.
Edited by: Paula Bixel
Books and Sources used in this research and referenced in this article:
Georgian Jewellery 1714 - 1830 By Dawes and Collings
Portuguese Jewellery By Guedes and Vassallo e Silva
Portrait Jewels By Scarisbrick
Mediaeval European Jewellery By Lightbrown
World Hallmarks Volume 1 By Niklewics, Whetstone, and Matula
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