As you know if you follow fashion, chokers are the trendiest necklaces around today. In fact, the last time they were so coveted, Alexandra was Queen of England! This example was crafted even earlier, when she was still Princess of Wales. The Princess Di or Countess Kate of her day, beautiful Alex popularized chokers (and high collars with bar pins), because she liked to hide a small scar on her neck. Her adoring subjects and fans across the sea needed no such excuse.
This choker, a paricularly wide and wonderful one, couldn't be more Belle Epoque. Everything about it screams Gay Nineties: the curvy Art Nouveau forms, richly gilded metalwork and spectacular, unusual stones. Signed "Greene Bros., New York City, NY", it's set with 10 gorgeous speckled coral cabochons. These look like real coral, but could be excellent art glass or early plastic, and faux coral was equally prized at the time. The choker's central oval medallion measures a stately 2 1/2 inches tall by 1 3/4 inches wide and is riveted onto a mesh band measuring 4 1/2 inches by 1 inch, which has brackets to hold ribbon or lace. Jewels of this sort were tied on, giving the wearer a chance to match her necklace ribbons to her dress. Hair was customarily pinned up, so the pretty bow at the back was easily visible. Depending on what you tie it to, this versatile jewel could also be worn as a sash ornament or a headband.
No polishing of the gilt brass has been done, since the decision on how far to go with cleaning should be left to its next owner. Obviously, the metal could be made quite bright by a good jeweler, since the inner surface still shimmers. Overall condition is extremely good, with only minor age-appropriate wear, and provenance is an East Coast estate.
There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and gift-wrap is free on request. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. We're always happy to send larger images that will give you a clearer view. Thanks for looking!