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Author Archives: Kaitlin Shinnick

Three Reasons I Love Victorian Earrings

To most people the Victorian Era is known for the industrial revolution, social reform, and the Pax Britannica. For me, all those run a distant second to the Victorians greatest achievement: earring design. Victorian earrings are everything that I love about antique jewelry. Here are the three reasons why:

Gold and Amethyst Earrings, c. 1835 (Lot 175, Estimate: $1,500-2,000)

1. Motifs

Victorians were endlessly inventive with their design motifs.… Read More

The Arts & Crafts Movement: Making It Irish

Harry Clarke (1889–1931), The Baptism of St. Patrick, 1912. National College of Art and Design, Dublin

The Irish Arts & Crafts movement often does not get the attention it deserves in publications and exhibitions. That is why it was particularly exciting to visit the Making It Irish exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College over the weekend. The curators have brought together over 150 objects, including textiles, metalwork, glass, furniture, books, and jewelry, to examine the movement in the context of the enormous social and political upheavals that characterized Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.… Read More

The Rare Beauty of Demantoid Garnets

Edwardian Demantoid Garnet and Diamond Grasshopper Brooch (Lot 281, Estimate $1,500-2,000)

Some of the most beautiful gems in the world came from the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 1800s. Emeralds, sapphires, topaz, alexandrite, malachite, and amethysts of unmatched quality were mined under the Czar’s direction. Many made their way to the palaces and imperial jeweler Carl Fabergé, others were sent to the best jewelers in Europe and the United States.… Read More

Gems of the Finest Water: Type IIA Diamonds

Diamonds from the French Crown Jewels. Many were from the Golconda mines.

When French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier first visited the Golconda diamond mines of India in the 17th century, the stones he saw there were unlike anything he had ever encountered. The diamonds had a special quality that he described as “gems of the finest water” in reference to their incredible limpidity. The diamonds that Tavernier purchased quickly made their way to the collection of Louis XIV, who incorporated them into the French crown jewels.… Read More