Ever-inspiring, the classic jewelry designs of the past continue to influence contemporary jewelers today. Two pairs of earrings by Hemmerle in Sotheby’s upcoming Geneva Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels sale illustrate such inspiration superbly.
The first pair of earrings takes a cue from one of the oldest earring designs, the ‘girandole’. A centuries-old standby for jewelry design, the origin of this classic earring style emerged arose from the influx of faceted gems from the booming gem cutting industry beckoned for innovative ways to display the sparkling wonders. Rudimentary hoop earrings soon suspended pear-shaped pendants, eventually evolving into the much more complex three-drop ‘girandole’.
Developed between the late 17th and early 18th centuries and named for the crystal-pendant candelabras of the period, the standard ‘girandole’ earring suspends three dangling drops from a central bow motif and round-shaped gem surmount. For several centuries, the ‘girandole’ earring was de rigueur.
Modernizing the ‘pendeloque’ style, the second pair of earrings merges the 18th century design with Hemmerle’s signature sleek, modern aesthetic.
The ‘pendeloque’ earring, developed around the 1770s, is composed of a round or oval-shaped top suspending a matching larger drop surmounted by a delicate bow. This popular type of earring was longer and lighter than the ‘girandole’ motif, which rendered it more complimentary to the fashionably high coiffures and extravagant wigs worn during the latter half of the century.
These two pairs of earrings exemplify what I love about truly great modern jewelry, the ingenuity of looking at the past for ideas and then revolutionizing those elements into wonderfully unique 21st century jewels.