25.07.2011 § Leave a comment

I learned something new today! For those who don’t know (like me a few hours ago): a Kanzashi is a traditional Japanese hair ornament that appeared in Japanese prehistorical Jōmon Period under the form of a thin rod or stick placed in the hair to protect from evil spirits. Kanzashi evolved a lot through the ages. Along with a fashion for larger and more complex hairstyles the Kanzashi craftsmanship excelled in the late Edo period (18th – 19th century) to the point where it became art. Miriam Slater, a Californian artist and Kanzashi collector, says in her website

“Kanzashi were made in a variety of precious materials including silver, coral, lacquer and tortoise. Some of the pieces were worn by geisha and the largest were worn by Japanese’s most expensive courtesans called oiran. The type and number of kanzashi arranged on a woman’s head depicted her status and position and was strictly regulated by law. For example, geisha wore simpler kanzashi than the oiran whose kanzashi were quite large and elaborate. In fact oiran were said to have worn the value of a house on their head and were called “castletoppers” because one’s castle had to be sold to maintain her.”

18th – 19th century  Lacquer Kanzashi from the amazing collection of Miriam Slater

Pictures: Miriam Slater visit the website to see the rest of the beautiful collection. For those very interested in Hair Combs here’s a great blog: Barbaraanne’s Hair Comb Blog


The Cartier Halo Tiara Back In Time

29.04.2011 § 5 Comments

The Cartier Halo Tiara was made in 1936. It was originally purchased by the Duke of York for his Duchess, who would become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother a few weeks later. After having been passed down two generations, the Halo Tiara was worn today by the beautiful Catherine for her wedding with Prince William.

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge

Princess Anne

Princess Margareth

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Pictures: Google Images

Thinking of Judith

11.03.2011 § Leave a comment

I couldn’t have possibly forgotten Judith

Jeweled by Klimt!

11.03.2011 § Leave a comment

Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt

Did you know that Klimt’s father was a gold engraver? I didn’t.. But it makes so much more sense now that I do…

Adorable Box

31.01.2011 § 1 Comment

Queen Marie Antoinette of France inherited from her mother, Empress Maria Theresia, the most impressive collection of Japanese lacquerware boxes and developed the collection later herself.

I would love this sweet little dog to guard my earrings. If you are in Paris and interested, the collection is divided in three parts exposed at Versailles, the Louvre and the Musée Guimet.

Picture: www.maria-antonia.justgoo.com

The Marquise Anecdote

27.10.2010 § Leave a comment

A star in gem shape history, the Navette is mostly known under the name of Marquise Shape. Invented by Louis XV’s jewelers, the shape was inspired by the Marquise de Pompadour. It is said that the King wished the shape to resemble his lover’s smile.

The Marquise Shape is a modified brilliant, which means it is a variation from the round brilliant. Just like the round brilliant, the marquise shape aims for brilliance and fire (=sparkle). Beware when you buy a Marquise shaped gemstone, an imprecise cut can cause a “bow-tie effect”: a very strong shadow in the form of a bow-tie in the table (the largest central facet at the top of the faceted gem).

Pictures: Google Images

When Jewelry became Art!

04.08.2010 § Leave a comment

Here is my one of my favorite paintings. Sometimes I wish I could be Sandys’ Helen. I envy her beauty and, even more, I envy her Jewelry. Isn’t she perfect? Look at the colors, the balance between natural and crafted, the intelligence and honesty in details! To me, this is really beautiful.

When it comes to Jewelry, my favorite painters definitely are the English Pre-Raphaelites. Among their intentions were: authenticity, imminence of nature, serious and heartfelt meaning and of course aesthetics. Often reflected through the painted jewelry is their influence from Japanese and Oriental Arts. Look closesly at the Jewels on the following pictures.

The Pre-Raphaelite influence on the world of decorative objects was immense and even created a movement: the Arts & Crafts movement. Let us remember that at this period (mid 19th century until beginning 20th century) there was a worldwide growing anti-industrial and anti-massproduction spirit. What the English called Arts & Crafts had several names for similar movements in the rest of the world (the French Art Nouveau, for example). So, really this spirit was very very very global! People wanted a return to genuineness. They wanted unique, hand made, beautiful & intelligent objects. They wanted Art.

Arthur & Georgie Gaskin

Carlo Giuliano

Edith & Nelson Dawon

Edward Everett Oakes

George Hunt

John Paul Cooper

Robert Ashbee

“The aim of the movement was to resuscitate the dead tradition of producing jewels designed and manufactured by the same person or, better, the same artist.” Understanding Jewelry, by Daniela Mascetti & David Benett. At that point, something wonderful happened: Artists became Jewelers. In fact, Jewelry became Art! How relevant is that today? Well, look at today’s artist jewelers and contemporary jewelers! Aren’t they children of this movement?

Images: Google Images

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