Kirsten's Corner

14K Gold and Silver Belle Époque Diamond Garland Necklace


This 14k gold and silver Belle Époque necklace features Old European Cut, Rose Cut, and Single Cut diamonds in a graceful garland motif. The garland alternates between round bezel set diamonds and diamonds bead set in leaflike settings—creating a line of beautiful flowers. At each end, the garland motif shifts into an elegant row of smaller circular diamonds in bezel settings. 

The diamonds graduate in size and the flowers point toward the center of the necklace—flowing inward from each end and  converging in the middle of the chain, where the design mirrors itself around the largest central diamond. The bezel setting of the larger Old European Cut diamonds create a clean line; the smaller Rose Cut and Single Cut diamonds are bead set into the leaves and surrounded by delicate milgrain work. The necklace is completely handmade and articulated, allowing for beautiful movement and flow. For a lovely detail that adds to the beauty of the piece, the clasp contains a stunning oval shaped diamond, the one of the largest in the necklace. 

As was common in Victorian jewelry, the front of the necklace is silver and the back of the necklace is 14k gold. At some point in its lifetime, the piece was given a rhodium treatment, and the piece now appears as white gold, though the 14k yellow gold is still visible in some places (it is most evident on the clasp). The rhodium treatment must have been long ago, because the necklace has acquired a lovely patina. The rhodium plating on the back does not detract from the beauty of the piece.

Belle Époque, meaning “beautiful era” was a period in France that lasted from 1871 to 1914. The jewelry of this era was designed to reflect neoclassical and rococo motifs such as garlands, lace, bows, swags of foliate, and graceful metalwork. 

The necklace contains 138 natural antique diamonds. The center Old European Cut diamond is 4.5 mm; the Old European Cut diamonds graduate down to 2.5 mm. Most of the Rose Cut and Single Cut diamonds are 1 - 1.25 mm. The oval diamond in the clasp is 5.25 x 4.25 mm. In total, the necklace contains approximately 8 carats.

The necklace is 16 1/8” and weighs 17.9 grams. It is unmarked but acid tests as silver and 14k gold. 

Circa 1880’s. 

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