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The Rise of the French Cut in The Art Deco Era

In the 1920’s the ‘garconne’ look took over, with straight sheath style dresses of far shorter lengths than ever before, Sleeves, like hemlines, retracted or disappeared leaving arms a perfect site for adornment. Flexible or Line bracelets came to be de rigueur, stacked all the better! To compliment the bobs & slimline long drop earrings, sautoir necklaces & angular, finely detailed & starkly contrasting diamond & coloured stone rings. Brooches continued to be a focal point for ornament & could were worn in several places from cloche hat to waistband.

The French cut was the perfect match for these new jewels, so popular in the 1920’s, it appeared in sapphire, emeralds, rubies & sometimes in diamonds. As accent stones they were supremely effective at adding colour & contrast to other cuts. French cuts offer a more sculptural 3D shape with larger facets, but on angles which reflect off in many directions. This would only work with gems of excellent colour, light enough to bounce the light around & send its coloured sparkle out as much as possible. Used on watches, bracelets, brooches, rings & earrings being more lively than both the step cut or the carre, they brought to life the crisp & streamlined designs of the age.

Art Deco is primarily white jewellery. Platinum was still relatively new on the scene because it was unable to be worked prior to the end of the nineteenth century.

This piece is a quintessential Art Deco bracelet, its straight lines featuring angular French Cut sapphires set in platinum, millgrained & hand engraved with the colour palette of stark white metal against rich deep blue reminiscent of the gorgeous hoard of Tutankhamun’s treasure. It is sleek & elegant, in both materials & manufacture clearly of quality, easily worn & timeless.

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The Charm & Symbolism of Snake Jewellery

Throughout the ages, across many cultures and civilisations, Snake Motifs have featured prominently in jewellery and adornment.  This motif has a history that includes varied meanings from fertility and rebirth to healing, guardianship, everlasting love and commitment.  The snake can also signify a slightly darker side such as poison, evil, sexual desire and passion!

The Pharaohs of Egypt revered the snake as a symbol of both royalty and deity whilst the ancient Romans saw the serpent as an expression of everlasting love and adoration.  In ancient Greek mythology they were venerated for their ability to shed their skin and thus seen as a representation of regeneration and rebirth.  Both the Aztecs and the Mayans featured snake gods within their religions and in ancient Chinese mythology, it was believed that the snake had close relations with the gods and that they were able to prolong one’s life. The creature was considered a symbol of reproduction and good luck.

Derived from the Greek terms “ouro” meaning tail, and “boros”, which translates to eating, Victorian jewellery often used an entwined snake, the Ouroboros, to symbolise infinity, the circle of life and eternal love.  The Victorians were influenced by the treasures of Roman and Greek times and replicated many details of the visual culture of the Ancient world.  Queen Victoria herself was given a jewel encrusted serpent by Prince Albert as an engagement ring.  Reaching their peak of popularity during this period, the snake appears as a widespread motif on brooches, pendants, rings, bracelets and all sorts of ornamental accessories.

We have a rare and adorable example, our 15ct Persian turquoise Victorian snake necklet .  Turquoise was fashionable and highly prized in the 19th century and cabochons of this vivid blue stone were cleverly used by Victorian jewellers to emulate the scales of these reptilian creations.

It is the contrast and duality of the snake that keeps us intrigued and attracted to adorning our wrist, finger or decolletage with this timeless and stylish motif.