Jewelry Obsession

A Modern Twist on Antique Earring Design

Pendeloque Earrings

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.

Each of girandole design, collet-set with tiered circular-cut diamonds alternating with chevron links set with brilliant-cut diamonds, signed Hemmerle, maker's mark.

Each of girandole design, collet-set with tiered circular-cut diamonds alternating with chevron links set with brilliant-cut diamonds, signed Hemmerle, maker’s mark.

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’.

Antique Diamond Girandole Earrings - Epoque

An exquisite and rare pair of 18th century girandole earrings, set throughout with rose cut diamonds, mounted on silver and gold. In original fitted case. (Epoque Fine Jewels)

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.

Isabella Borbone Parma, Archduchess of Austria wearing large diamond earrings by Anton Raphael Mengs

Isabella Borbone Parma, Archduchess of Austria wearing large diamond earrings by Anton Raphael Mengs

 

Modernizing the ‘pendeloque’ style, the second pair of earrings merges the 18th century design with Hemmerle’s signature sleek, modern aesthetic.

Each collet-set with a circular-cut diamond, suspending a pear-shaped diamond, accented with a small bow motif, highlighted with brilliant-cut stones, each with maker's mark.

Each collet-set with a circular-cut diamond, suspending a pear-shaped diamond, accented with a small bow motif, highlighted with brilliant-cut stones, each with maker’s mark.

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.

Antique Pendeloque Earrings

A Pair of Rare Georgian Diamond Ear Pendants. Of typical pendeloque design, each composed of an old-cut diamond pavé-set cluster top to a similarly-set bow design spacer and further pear shaped drop, partially open-set in silver and gold, circa 1810 (Christie’s)

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.

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Mary Max
    April 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Sweet, fun, and informative!
    Love the Georgian earrings!

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