During the Georgian era, when new sources of silver were found in silver-rich South America, the production of silver jewelry flourished. Silver was the most popular type of metal for making jewelry in Europe at the time and has remained one of our most prized jewelry-making materials to this day.
Georgian jewelry is quite feminine in feel and is recognizable by a few stand-out features. It was painstakingly hand-made by skilled artisans, so gemstones and metalwork from this era are a little "rough around the edges" compared with the neat craftsmanship of more recent eras. In addition, paste was an early form of costume jewelry that was popular with the Georgian era lower classes and aristocracy alike. Common motifs, among many, included portrait miniatures.
Conceived as personal mementos and tokens of affection, miniature portraits are handheld paintings generally created with watercolor paint on thin sheets of ivory. These intimate images were carried or worn by both men and women as a means to keep loved ones close at heart, even when they were not physically present. This stunning 18th Century portrait example features paste "diamonds" set in a garland around the central enamel. Pictured with pink and yellow ribbons, voluminous hair and red cheeks blooming roses in her coiffe, this merry sitter gazes delightedly at the viewer.
Materials and Features: sterling silver, paste, enamel
Age/Origin: 18th C, French, c. 1770
Measurements: 1.35" in diameter, 4.5 grams
Condition: Very good, some paste stones missing, please see photos. Minor associated age wear. Some wear to the hair on the painting.
Please view and inspect any photos closely. We endeavor to fully disclose all condition information clearly and concisely, however, please note that what qualifies as excellent condition for historical jewelry differs from modern and contemporary pieces; please take the age of the piece into account when examining the piece. Minor age wear is typical and to be expected for antique and vintage jewelry. Unless otherwise stated, gemstones have not been officially graded for color, clarity, or treatment by GIA; any information provided is our own educated, professional assessment.