Please note: This picture (soon to be replaced) makes the pearls appear rosy. They're aren't. It's just that my hand is.
From a lovely and fascinating estate collection that's been consigned to us, this magnificent demi-parure bowls me over on quite a few counts. One is the breathtaking size of the domed jewel that doubles as a pendant and a brooch. Another is the luscious, buttery color of the gold, achieved by layering pure 24k gold atop 14k. The artistry of the metalwork is also an unexpected treat, since cannetille filigree with granulation is almost never seen on 20th century jewelry. Finally, the sheer number of pearls you get with this set is astounding: a whopping 78!
The massive brooch, which a hidden bale allows to be worn also as a pendant on a chain or strand of pearls, holds 60 pearls -- and 18 particularly fine ones appear on the cluster earrings (9 in each). The pearls are proper cultured sea pearls, not the cheap freshwater type. Diameter of the brooch is about 52mm and the earrings, also domed, are about 15mm in diameter.
About that remarkable metalwork, cannetille and granulation are extremely intricate, time-intensive techniques that require the ultimate virtuosity from a goldsmith. Canetille work mainly appears in Georgian and Regency jewelry, when wars raged and jewelers made the most of limited supplies by forming gold into very thin wires and creating lacy confections with it. Granulation, of course, is most associated with the Victorian Etruscan Revival period.
These treasures hail from Panama, widely known for its pearl jewelry since the time of the conquistadores, and derive their name from being likened to the white musk rose called "mosqueta" in Spanish. Based on the fittings, which are certainly original, this set was probably crafted in the 1920s or early 1930s. It can't reasonably be later, because none were made after a 1935 Red Tide wiped out the Panamanian oyster beds, until Japanese pearls began to be imported in the 1950s. Condition is excellent; the jewels have seen very little wear.
For this item, there will be no charge for insured delivery to any country where we ship and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order, request more photos or arrange for layaway if that would serve your convenience. Thanks for looking!