Purchase handmade bead jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings

THE jewelry that came into fashion towards the close of the seventeenth century and flourished during the greater part of the eighteenth follows the style known as “rococo.” Rococo ornament with its assemblage of rich fantastic scrolls and crimped conventional shell work wrought into irregular and indescribable forms, though overcharged and inorganic, yet possesses certain beauty and artistic master pieces. Like most objects in this style, rococo jewelry has a real decorative charm. But the title of baroque or rococo is really less adapted to jewelry than to other art productions of the time, for jewelry itself never indulged in the same extravagant use of this form of ornament. Except for slight changes in design, eighteenth-century jewelry, as far as its general form is concerned, does not at first display any marked variation from that of the previous century.

A charming but somewhat superficial sentimentality expressed by means of pastoral subjects results in ornaments on which tokens of friendship are represented in all manner of forms. The naturalistic tendency in ornament is still strong, but is less striking than it was before, since feather, ribbon, and other conventional designs make their appearance, mingled with flowers and leaves. These rococo jewels, on account of the setting and arrangement of the precious stones which entirely govern their composition, are in their way master pieces both technically and artistically.

Unlike the earlier jewels, one cannot help regarding them rather more as accessories to costume than as independent works of art. The general character of the jewelry of the period with which we are now dealing may best be judged by a notable series of original designs in color for such objects executed by the Santini family of Florence, and now preserved in the Library of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This remarkable collection comprises upwards of 382 separate designs, which are mostly constructed in a manner best calculated to show off the brilliant character and size of the stones and pearls, on which their effect mainly depends. A large proportion of the drawings take the form of what at this period constituted a set of jewels, composed of three items of similar design—a bow-shaped breast ornament hung with a cross, and a pair of earrings en suite.

In place of the breast ornament is sometimes a V-shaped corsage in imitation of hooks and eyes or braid work, set with various precious stones. The whole work shows that in the eighteenth century the stone cutter and stone setter had practically supplanted the artist in precious metals. In the metal-work of the settings—in most cases a matter of minor consideration—gold is employed for colored stones and silver for diamonds. The general tendency is towards the rococo, but this type of ornament is here by no means strongly marked. In other directions, however, it is more apparent, and already in the seventeenth century we meet with traces of it in engraved designs for jewelry. The best work of this kind is that of Friedrich Jacob Morisson, a jeweler who worked at Vienna from about 1693 to 1697.

He was one of the most popular jewelers of the day, and his plates, which are rich in motives for ornaments in precious stones and fine metal-work, found a wide circulation. They comprise aigrettes, earrings, brooches, pendants, bracelets, rings, and seals. Other Germans who have left designs in the same style are F. H. Bemmel (1700) of Nuremberg, D. Baumann (1695), Johann Heel (1637-1709), and J. F. Leopold (1700)—all of Augsburg.

French designers led European taste in jewelry as in furniture, and published a number of important designs. The most remarkable are those of the master-goldsmith Jean Bourguet of Paris, whose models for earrings, pendants, and clasps, dated 1712 and 1723, are set with large faceted stones, and have their backs chased or enameled with flower designs. His designs for enamel-work published as models for jewelers’ apprentices, contains among other patterns a series of twelve rings set with large faceted stones ; beside each ring is a design for the enamel decoration of its shoulder: ”

Of Italian designs for jewelry set with precious stones in the rococo style we may note those of G. B. Grondoni of Genoa, who worked at Brussels about 1715, Carlo Ciampoli (1710), and D. M. Albini, whose designs were published in 1744. The publication in London of several series of designs proves that England was not far behind the Continent in the production of high-class personal ornaments.

Among the most important pattern-books for jewelry, are those of Simon Gribelin, who was born in Paris in 1662, and worked chiefly in London, where he died in 1733. His work includes A book of Ornaments and A Book of Ornaments useful to Jewelers, etc., 1697. These were republished in 1704.

The patterns are chiefly for seals, and for breast ornaments and clasps set with rose-cut stones in rococo settings. About the same time similar pattern-books were published. One book contains designs for buckles” seals, watch-keys, a chatelaine with a watch and another with pendants and bow-shaped breast ornaments hung with drop pearls.

An isolated phenomenon in the midst of the universal love for precious stones that then dominated the productions of the jewelers, some jewelers carried the traditions of the sixteenth century far into the eighteenth.

All the processes of the craftsmen, of whose technique possessed a fine knowledge worked with wonderful care and exactitude—though the productions naturally betray in design the period of their execution. Some jewelers exercised considerable influence on their contemporaries, more especially with regard to the revival of the art of enameling in the second half of the century, when jewelry made a notable advance in the time of Louis XVI.

A change in style was first experienced on the arrival in power of Madame de Pompadour, who led the way in that coquettish return to simple conditions of life which showed itself in the pastorals of the Louis Quinze epoch. It resulted in a preference for simple gold ; this metal, colored by alloys such as platinum and silver being at most only set off by enamel painting.

This later rococo period, as far as its technique is concerned, is one which has never been equaled either before or since. An event of importance in the history of jewelry, as of art generally, was the discovery in 1755 of the city of Pompeii, succeeding that in 1713 of Hercu-laneum, buried for centuries beneath the ashes of Vesuvius.

The journeys of artists to Italy and to Naples, and the interest aroused thereby in ancient art, a weariness with the mannerism of rococo ornament, and the whim of fashion, gradually transformed jewelry like other decorative arts, and resulted in the classicism of the style of Louis XVI.

Antique forms as they then were known showed themselves in a very charming manner in well-balanced jewels, where different colored gold took the form of classical motives in the midst of ribbons, garlands, and the pastoral subjects dear to the previous epoch.

Enamel returned into fashion, and accomplished its chief triumph with painting in fine transparent tones over gold. In conjunction with the art of gem setting and cutting, and metal chasing, this species of enamel produced effects which were all the more surprising, seeing that it was often confined to the smallest of spaces.

Other French designers of jewelry at this time were: Maria, a jeweler of Paris, who issued about 1765 an important series of plates, thirty-five in number, of pendants, brooches, clasps, chatelaines, aigrettes, seals, rings, and buckles.

A Swiss jeweler by birth was originally a gold chaser—” the first in the kingdom,” so Sir Joshua Reynolds described him; but when that mode of decorating jewelry was put aside in favor of enamels, he turned his attention to enamel compositions of emblematically figures in vogue for the costly watch-cases of the day, for chatelaines, necklaces, bracelets, and other personal ornaments. He succeeded so well in this class of work that the Queen patronized him, and he executed a considerable number of

commissions for the King.

The excess of ornamentation and the desire for jewelry formed of precious stones had, since the

seventeenth century, favored the use of imitations. Rock crystal or quartz had long been employed to imitate diamonds. But at this time even people of great wealth wore imitation jewels, such as certainly would not be worn by persons in a corresponding position nowadays. These made no profession of being real stones.

Competitors were not slow in making their appearance, and one Charon also gave his name for a considerable time to the false diamonds that issued from his workshop. So large and flourishing did the industry in imitations become that in 1767 a corporation was established in Paris. Imitation pearls were likewise very largely worn ; even ladies of high position did not disdain to wear them.

Pearls have been so well imitated, that most of those of fine Orient have found their way back from Europe to Asia, and are so rare in France that nowadays one scarcely sees any good specimens.” Productions such as these were -rendered ‘necessary to satisfy the luxury which from the nobility had extended over the whole middle classes, and also on account of the strained condition of French finance.

As Controllers of Finance, endeavored to cut down expenses, and issued in 1759 an invitation to the wealthy to bring in their jewels to be converted into cash for the benefit of the Treasury. This had become very much the fashion in France.

In Switzerland, too, since it was forbidden to wear diamonds, ladies, he tells us, wore no other ornaments than marcasite, and spent a good deal of care and money in the setting of it. The mineral known as marcasite, a word which was spelled in many ways, is a crystallized form of iron pyrites cut in facets like rose diamonds, and highly polished. It was used for a number of ornaments.

Steel, likewise cut in facets, was similarly employed. Steel jewelry appears to have been invented in England, and from Birmingham, the center of its manufacture, found its way all over Europe, reaching France by way of Holland.

Steel jewelry, which was in high favor in the latter half of the eighteenth, continued to be worn until the second V quarter of the nineteenth century, when it finally went out of fashion. Even after that, cut steel was still made at Birmingham.

One of the most prominent, continued for many years to supply the Court of Spain with buttons and buckles ornamented with steel. Steel was largely employed as mounts for the cameos of Wedgwood, and there was considerable demand for rings, brooches and buttons. Mountings for these were also made in silver or Sheffield plate.

Another characteristic of the changed condition of the times was the use in jewelry, together with false pearls, and marcasite, of various substitutes for gold. The best-known of these substitutes was “pinch- J beck,” so called after its inventor, Christopher Pinchbeck (d. 1732), a clock and watch maker, of Fleet Street. This pinch beck gold was an alloy of copper and zinc. When fused together the metals assumed the color of fine gold, and preserved for a time a bright and UN-oxidised surface, though in some cases objects thus fashioned received a washing of gold. Pinchbeck was much used for cheaper jewelry of all kinds.

The larger articles made of this metal were chatelaines, snuff-boxes, while watch-cases, miniature-frames, buckles, clasps, and so forth, are to be found for the most part ornamented in relief and carefully chased. These several articles to which pinch beck was suited, went in those days by the name of “toys.” The term “Toy man” was employed by Pinchbeck himself, but the title had, of course, no reference to what are now known as toys.

In France and Germany a metal composition like gold, in imitation of pinch beck, called “gold shine,” was produced, first in about 1729, and subsequently improved by Leblanc, of Paris. But the name of the English inventor of the metal was well known in France.

The head-ornament—the aigrette—was still an important jewel in the eighteenth century. Generally a kind of delicately formed bouquet of precious stones in very light setting, it continued long in fashion, together with strings of pearls among the hair. For a while the aigrette was set aside for bows, small birds, etc., made of precious stones mounted upon vibrating spiral wires which were then attached to the hair-pin. These went under the name of “wasps” or “butterflies.” In the days of Marie Antoinette they were supplemented by hair-pins and aigrettes set entirely with diamonds, which about 1770 had almost entirely colored stones.

Many designs for these head-ornaments were published. Some jewelers wanted do away with the mixture of colored stones with diamonds and in spite of the general preference for the diamond, taste had not yet learned to do without color effect in jewelry. Earrings, as has been noticed in reference to the Santini designs, were in particular favor at this period.

The majority were composed of large faceted stones or of pearls, formed grandiose fashion—that is to say, of a large circular stone above, with three pear-shaped pendants below. A pair of earrings of this form, said to have belonged to Madame du Barry, are in possession of Lady Monckton. They are set each with four sapphire pastes of very fine quality ; the three drop-pendants being separated from the upper stone by open spray-work of silver set with white pastes.

Similarly elaborate pendent earrings in seven sections composed of brilliants are seen in an original portrait of Queen Charlotte by Thomas Frye (c. 1760). Drop-shaped pendants, mostly diamonds, were then very highly esteemed. Marie Antoinette had a pair of diamond earrings with stones of this form hanging from a perpendicular line of large brilliants.

For necklaces the engravings of these same designers supply many patterns. Like the designs of the fifteenth century, they are often in the form of a band about an inch in width, composed of precious stones— rubies, emeralds, pearls, and diamonds—in open-work, or attached to velvet. They are generally constructed so as to reach only half-way round the neck, the back part being a band of black velvet. Portraits of the time frequently exhibit ropes of pearls, and finally rows of large diamonds, like the renowned collier of Marie Antoinette composed by the Court jewelers. Numerous circumstances connected with it, too lengthy to relate here, gave to the affair of the diamond necklace a world-wide celebrity, making it one of the chief events of the century. Though historically one of the world’s most famous pieces of jewelry, the necklace itself, described in quaint but vivid language by Carlyle in his Miscellanies, calls for no special comment, being on the whole of comparatively small artistic importance. Its value was a great sum for those days—lay in the size and quality of the brilliants of which it was composed. A favorite point of adornment in female attire was still the breast, where, in the first part of the century, jeweled ornaments in the form of bows and rosettes, hung with pendants and set with table-cut stones or rose diamonds, continued to be worn. Generally they hung with pear-shaped pendants.

About 1770 a large bunch of flowers, or a bouquet-shaped ornament formed of precious stones, was worn in the breast. For the latter the jeweler Lempereur enjoyed a great reputation. Upon the stiff bodice, which came into fashion at the end of the seventeenth century, scope was afforded for a goodly use of ornament, and soon we find the corsage literally covered with jewels, in a manner similar to that in which the ladies of the Renaissance almost completely covered the upper part of their dresses with pendent chain-ornaments. At the time, however, of which we now speak the ornaments are single pieces mounted upon the dress and arranged symmetrically in the form of a jeweled “stomacher” or devant de corsage. The Santini drawings contain many examples of this kind of open framework composed of precious stones.

At this period also, when luxury reached its climax, even the tucked-up upper skirt had the whole of its exaggerated dimensions sprinkled with pieces of jewelry, so that of this time again it may be said that the ladies of the Court displayed the whole of their wealth, and often enough of their credit too, upon a single dress. Fashion endeavored to fill a corresponding part in gentleman’s attire by adorning coat and waistcoat with buttons of artistic workmanship. To match the beautiful embroidered garments of the time, buttons were sewn with bugles, steel beads, or spangles ; and many have survived which may be reckoned as real articles of jewelry. Every material and mode of decoration was applied to them.

Occasionally we find buttons set with diamonds and other precious stones, but more often paste, or with odd natural stones such as agates, carnelians, marcasite, blood-stones, lapis-lazuli, or buttons of tortoise-shell, or of compositions such as Wedgwood ware, in frames of cut steel. Translucent blue glass or enamel, mounted or set with pearls, diamonds or pastes, and chased and colored gold, were all fashionable. On the whole, cut steel was the most popular. A Birmingham craftsman by name of Heeley, who worked for Wedgwood about 1780, is recorded as being especially skillful at this class of work; while in France a certain Dauffe had almost a monopoly in the production of steel objects. Certainly some of the open-work steel buttons of the time— English as well as French—are jewels of a very high order. Bracelets were mostly formed of bands of velvet with oval clasps.

The clasp was decorated in a variety of ways, and was very frequently fitted with a painted or enameled miniature. The practice of wearing miniatures in this way seems to have been a common one, judging by the numerous advertisements inserted in the London Public Advertiser about the middle of the century by ” ingenious artists,” willing on ” reasonable terms to paint elegant portraits in miniature for bracelets, rings, etc. Cameos were sometimes employed as bracelet clasps, but not to the same extent as they were subsequently under the Empire.

An admirable example of French jewel work of the time, is formed of a circlet of emeralds arranged in the manner of a laurel wreath, and tied at intervals by cords of rose diamonds terminating above and below in knots. Among other decorations for bracelets, mention may be made of the celebrated enamels produced at Batter-sea between 1750 and 1775, very many of which, oval in shape, were set in gold frames so as to be easily mounted in bracelets. The finger ring in the eighteenth century was a particularly favorite jewel. That considerable attention was paid at the time to the design and decoration of the ring, may be judged from Bourguet’s designs, which contain patterns for enamel-work intended for its enrichment.

The beauty of the sentiments displayed on the rings of the time is nowhere more charmingly expressed than on an English wedding-ring at South Kensington, which is formed of two hand’s in white enamel, holding between the thumbs and first fingers a rose diamond in the shape of a heart set in silver and surmounted with a jeweled coronet. Other rings of similar style have the bezel formed of two precious stones in the form of hearts united by a knot. Rings which served simply as souvenirs of affection were very popular. In addition to the plain gold ring engraved with a posy or motto, were rings containing a like sentiment read by means of the first letters of the stones with which they are set.

The most typical ring of the period is perhaps the marquise ring, which dates from the second half of the century. The bezel, which is oblong, and either oval or octagonal, is often of such size that it covers the whole joint of the finger. It is formed of a plaque of transparent blue glass on matted gold, surrounded with diamonds, and set either with a single diamond, or with several arranged at regular intervals, sometimes in the form of a bouquet. Often instead of diamonds are pastes and even marcasite. Of other varieties of rings of the time it is necessary only to mention those set with Wedgwood cameos, or .with, stones such as moss-agates, and a form of agate somewhat similar, but of lighter color, called the mocha stone.

Mourning and memorial rings, of which this period was so prolific, will be spoken of subsequently. An ornament that showed a peculiarly wide development throughout the eighteenth century was the shoe-buckle. Various kinds of buckles are recorded in the Caution to the Public. They include the following: buckles for ladies’ breasts, stock-buckles, shoe-buckles, knee-buckles, girdle-buckles. Of these the most important was the buckle worn on the shoes of every one —man, woman, and child—attached to the strap passing over the instep. It assumed all sorts of forms and was made and enriched with every conceivable material.

It is interesting to observe that in spite of the immense number produced, hardly any two pairs of buckles are precisely alike— which contains upwards of four hundred specimens. Towards the last years of the century buckles began to be supplanted by shoe-strings. During this period of transition many attempts were made to foster their use.

On tickets to public entertainments at the time one occasionally finds a notice that ” Gentlemen cannot be admitted with shoe-strings.” The latter, however, won the day, and about the year 1800 shoe-buckles disappeared from use. The chatelaine was perhaps the most characteristic of all eighteenth-century ornaments. It was exceedingly popular, and formed, it may be observed, a very favorite object of the time for a wedding present. It usually consisted of a shield with a stout hook, suspended from which were several chains united by another plate or shield which carried the watch. Besides this were two or more chains for holding the watch-key or seals.

Extraordinary skill was exercised in the elaboration of chatelaines. The plaques, hinged or united by chains, withstood the incursion of the precious stone that dominated all other forms of jewelry, and afforded peculiar opportunities for the display of the art of the goldsmith in chased and repouss6 metal-work enriched with exquisite enamels. The jeweler’s whole artistic skill was thus exhibited, not only upon the shields, but upon the solid links of the chains.

The chief of the latter was of course the watch. Its dial-plate was enriched with enamel, and chased and colored gold : even the hands when made of gold showed a high degree of skilled workmanship within a very small space. The principal ornamental part was, however, the outer case; and it may be maintained that there was not any species of work connected with the goldsmith’s art that was not displayed in its finest form upon watch-cases, more especially in the time of Louis XVI.

Beside the watch was hung the watch-key and seals, and all sorts of ornamental nick-knacks, and such-like bought!

While women carried elaborate chatelaines, men hung from the watch in the fob-pocket bunches of seals which dangled beneath their embroidered waistcoats. Thus in Monsieur a la Mode, published about 1753, we read of— A repeater by Graham, which the hours reveals ; Almost overbalanced with nick-knacks and seals.

It was the seal above all which experienced particular artistic development. Ever since the sixteenth century the seal had been worn in addition to the signet ring. Though hung perhaps like a pomander from a chain at the neck or from the girdle, the seal seems to have been but rarely displayed on the person until the general introduction in the early seventeenth century of the watch, to which for more than a couple of centuries it was a regular accompaniment.

The majority of seventeenth-century seals are of silver with the arms engraved in the metal; others of steel are on swivels and have three faces; others, again, of gold set with stones engraved with heraldic devices, have finely worked shanks, occasionally enriched with delicate enamel-work. The gold seals of the eighteenth century, which are among the best examples extant of rococo jewelry, are of open-work in the form of scroll and shell patterns, of admirable design and workmanship. It is out of the question to attempt a description of the numerous attractive forms these pendent seals assumed, or the peculiar interest they possess from an heraldic point of view. About the year 1772 fashionable men carried a watch in each fob-pocket, from which hung bunches of seals and chains.

From the custom set in England of introducing masculine fashions into dress, ladies likewise wore two watches, one on each side, together with rattling seals, and other appendages. In addition to the real watch with beautifully enameled back which adorned the left side, they wore on the right what was called a false watch. These false watches were, however, often little less costly than the genuine article, being made of gold and silver, with jeweled and enameled backs. The front had either an imitation dial-plate, some fanciful device, or a pin-cushion.

Purchase handmade bead jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings


Purchase Handmade Bead Jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings

All jewelry of the late Renaissance runs a gradual and profound change of taste. Slowly and by imperceptible stages the earlier style, with its minute enameled figures in high relief, gives place to a desire for sparkling diamonds, and a pleasure in the glitter of faceted stones.

In the sixteenth century diamonds, rubies, and other stones played a comparatively insignificant part in jewelry, and were prized mainly for their decorative value, but during the course of the seventeenth century a more prominent role was gradually conceded to precious stones.

Used singly at first, in table-cut form, to give a center of interest or a note of color, they came finally to be arranged in long rows. A complete change was brought about in the whole character of jewelry by the prominence thus given to the precious stone.

From the commencement of the seventeenth century Germany began to lose the position which, during the greater part of the century previous, she had occupied as a jewel-producing center while the Thirty Years’ War, by handicapping her industries, caused the jewelers to seek employment elsewhere.

It was mainly from France that the new ideas in the form of ornaments emanated. The French are fortunate in possessing separate words to distinguish different kinds of jewelry. Two distinct jewelry categories began to emerge. One was of jewelry formed of gold, enamels and precious stones. The other was composed of stones along with minimum metalwork. By the revolution of taste in the later days of the Renaissance the first category gradually superseded the second; while the two crafts of the silversmith and the jeweler replaced the ancient craft of the goldsmith.

Changes in the mode of wearing clothes, and in the materials employed for them, had an enormous influence on jewelry. In place of the velvet and brocade that prevailed during the Renaissance, damask came to be worn, together with an extravagant taste for lace and ribbons. The wearing of the silken stuffs that began to be issued from the factories of Lyons, and of the lace that formed their accompaniment, necessitated the use of ornaments more in keeping with these materials ; with the result that the jewelry of the period assumed an open and lace-like character, suitable also for the display of precious stones. At first colored stones were used—the ruby, sapphire, and the emerald ; but soon the diamond held sole possession of the field.

In Renaissance ornaments this latter gem played only a secondary part, and was employed solely for the sake of contrast, but it now appeared as the chief object in view, and formed the ornament by itself, all other parts of the jewel, the setting, and possible addition of other stones, being wholly subordinate to it.

For the first general employment of the diamond in jewelry one must look back to the fifteenth century, to the invention of the art of cutting that stone. From that date until the beginning of the seventeenth century, every diamond, as is seen both by jewels and their designs, was one of two forms: either the ” point,” a four-sided pyramid or the faces of the native octagon crystal of diamond and making them exactly true and regular ; or the ” table,” in which the point of the crystal is reduced to a square or oblong plane, the opposite extremity being also in plane form, but of smaller extent, with sloping faceted edges.

This simple cutting did so little to augment the brilliance of the diamond that the jewelers of the sixteenth century had to depend on the foiling of the stone, in which art Cellini in his treatise, with his characteristic appreciation of his own merits, tells us that he particularly excelled. The change of taste in the seventeenth century may be attributed to the opening up of the diamond fields of Golconda on the southern borders of the State of Hyderabad, at the beginning of that century, and to the enterprise of the French travelers who, during their frequent voyages to Persia and India, dealt largely in precious stones. These travelers succeeded in establishing new commercial relations, which led to the introduction into Europe of abundance of precious stones and particularly diamonds; while the narratives of their journeys, furnishing more exact knowledge of the quality and value of the products of the East, attracted towards precious stones a new interest.

Owing to the abundance of material imported from the East, the market for precious stones assumed an entirely different aspect; while the quantity and beauty of the material thus at their disposal spurred on the stone-cutters towards the improvement of their technique, until at the end of the century they arrived at the true cutting of the diamond. Besides the “point,” which was but rarely used, the table-cut diamond alone was employed until the commencement of the seventeenth century. About that time there came into use the “rose,” a half-crystal, flat at the base and with a convex top covered with a number of small facets.

Stones faceted in this manner were at first mostly small and unimportant and cut very irregularly into four or six facets. Between the years 1641 and 1643, Cardinal Mazarin, a great lover of the diamond, is said to have encouraged the promotion of experiments by the Dutch lapidaries which led to the true “rose” cutting.

Anyhow, a more systematic method of faceting in sixteen facets began to be employed about that time. This process, though it left much to be desired, was an immense improvement, and set forth the qualities of the stone in a way that had not been possible by the forms previously in use. ” Roses,” together with “tables,” lasted until the invention of the “brilliant” at the commencement of the eighteenth century by the Venetian, Vincenzo Peruzzi, though rose cutting was popular for some time after, and is still used for certain stones.

The “rose” leaped into fashion at its first appearance, and the taste for diamonds and other precious stones seems to have dominated under Louis XIH and Louis XIV, when they became the principal objects in jewelry.

Gold was worked into the form of garlands, flowers, and all sorts of designs for the purpose of mounting precious stones and setting off their beauty. The enormous increase of luxury in this direction was entirely in keeping with the whole conception of an absolute monarchy as developed by Louis XIV, who made it the duty of the grandest gems, and to carry the value of lands and forests upon their own and their wives’ apparel when they appeared before the eyes of their sovereign.

Though actual examples of the seventeenth-century jewelry are rare, at any rate in public collections, we can become acquainted with its characteristics by the numerous prints bequeathed by the goldsmiths of the time. These prints, like those of the sixteenth century, were not invariably the work of their designers, since it was no uncommon practice for the master-goldsmith to have his designs multiplied for use in his own workshop, and for general circulation, by placing them in the hands of an engraver.

As a rule the nationalities of existing jewels may be in some measure determined by means of the designs from which they were executed. But it is often difficult to make clear distinctions in this manner, owing to the continual artistic interchange which brought the fashions of one place to another, and caused the methods and ideas of the craftsmen to become common property.

The bi-lingual inscriptions which one finds on the frontispieces of many of the pattern-books or sets of designs then published, prove that they were intended for international use. The first attempts to base the composition of the ornament exclusively upon the effect of stones arranged in definite forms, without granting the setting of the plastic metal any independent part, are found in some of the prints of Daniel Mignot, of the year 1590.

Mignot, probably of French extraction, was a-goldsmith of Augsburg, where between the years 1590 and 1616 he produced a number of highly important designs for jewelry, which form a link between the old and the newer styles. While following the artists of the late sixteenth century in the representation of figure designs in ornaments formed of flat strap work curves characteristic of the older school, he presents engravings of pendants, earrings, and aigrettes, in which the stones are set in juxtaposition. That the transition to the newer forms was slow, is shown in the works of the goldsmith-engraver Amsterdam, whose models for pendants, signed with the initials P.R.K., and dated 1609 and 1617, are formed of elaborate open scroll work of tendril design, almost destitute of stones.

Exhibiting features more in keeping with those of Mignot are the designs of Paul Birckenhultz of Frankfort-on-the-Main (1617). They are of fine quality, and take the form of aigrettes and earrings set with precious stones, and elaborate oval pendants terminating with pearls and ornamented with scroll ornaments intended for execution in enamel.

Birckenhultz is the last of the German school of designers to model his work on the productions of the sixteenth-century masters. Henceforth one must look for designs chiefly to France, where an entirely new type of ornament for jewelry, such as is found in no other art production of the time, was brought into existence by endeavors to associate leaf patterns with a number of stones. Its characteristic is the use of a sort of pea-pod or husk ornament and known generally by the (pea-pod style).

In the designs of the time this formal ornament is largely employed for elaborate aigrettes ; but owing to the jewels executed from such designs having been set with stones, the result has been that change of fashion has suffered scarcely a jeweled example to survive.

As a consequence, the objects existing chiefly represent enamel led miniature-cases and pendants. The number and variety of engraved designs for this kind of ornament in the form of jeweled bouquets, chiefly for aigrettes, dating from the first half of the seventeenth century is surprising, considering that it remained a comparatively short time in use. One of the chief advocates of this style is Pierre Marchant, who worked in Paris about 1623.

His rare designs for aigrettes, and wreaths for the borders of pendants, are most graceful, and show a form of leaf ornament which is extremely happily adapted for materials in which the precious stone had to play a prominent part. The foregrounds or bases of nearly all these engravings are remarkable for the landscapes.

These fine compositions, when formed of precious stones, show knots and interlacing s for clasps, pendants, and earrings, in which diamonds are fully displayed in rose-cut forms. As models for objects not composed entirely of stones, we find seals, rings,bracelets, and chains decorated with ribbons and bows mingled with monograms, and emblems, such as death’s-heads. Together with these appear tasteful arrangements for enamel-work in the form of natural flowers of great charm and delicacy. To these last reference will be made later.

The jewels, in the form of pendants, earrings, and brooches, are composed of stones set in various ways the last plate is a miniature portrait of Louis XIV set as a brooch. All his designs are accompanied by garlands of natural flowers. Complete as was the change which was brought about owing to the prominence given to the precious stone, it must not be supposed that the enameler’s art was by any means neglected.

Though it cannot be compared with that in the best productions of the Renaissance, the enamel-work applied to seventeenth-century jewelry is, nevertheless, worthy of close attention. By one method the surface of the gold was simply incised with designs, and the grooves thus made filled with enamel. By another method only thin lines of the metal were reserved to form the design, and the remainder of the field cut out to receive the enamel. This latter system resembles in appearance the well-known cloisonne; but the metal strips that form the partitions between the enamel, instead of being inserted, are a solid part of the metal base.

Commonly employed on jewelry from the middle of the sixteenth century, it remained in general favor, till about the third decade of the seventeenth century when it gave place to enamel-work of an entirely different kind.

The designs are occasionally for complete jewels, but most of them take the form of very small motives intended as patterns for the shoulders of finger rings, or for the borders, frames, or other details of jewels. Some engraved plates are made up entirely of such motives, on other plates they appear as details, either within a complete design or upon the field outside it. Germany and the Netherlands furnish the earliest examples of these.

The lockets of this period are ornamented with patterns reserved in white on black ground in the form of trailing leaves and tendrils, partly in the “pea-pod” style, and accompanied by lively genre figures in various attitudes.

Perhaps the most attractive of these plates is that which represents a jeweler—probably Toutin himself—firing a jewel which he holds in the furnace by a pair of long tongs, while above is figured a model of the actual jewel—an octagonal box-like pendant.

Toutin, who appears to have been an experimenter in enamels, is entitled to distinction as the discoverer of a new process of using them. The process consisted in covering a plate of gold or copper with an opaque monochromatic enamel, on which designs were painted with colors, opaque and fusible, and of greater variety than had previously been employed.

This method of enamel painting, extensively used for jewelry, proved to be peculiarly suitable to the representation of natural flowers which came into high favor about the same time. The employment of naturalistic flower designs, as displayed on the margins of manuscripts, was one of the features of late Gothic art.

The same tendency with regard to flowers was manifested on the enameled jewelry of the fifteenth century, the most striking example of which is the wonderful necklace seen on the Flemish portrait of Maria Baroncelli. Renaissance ornaments on the whole did not favor naturalistic floral patterns, though flowers enameled in full relief are occasionally found, as on the border of the Phoenix Jewel in the British Museum.

The general return in the early part of the seventeenth century to flower designs for the decoration of jewelry is associated with a curious phase in the social history of the time that accompanied the deep interest then taken in flowers and horticulture. Among flowers, of which the Dutch have ever been enthusiastically fond, and never tired of growing and of painting, the most prominent position was occupied by the tulip. From about the year 1634 the cultivation of the tulip became a perfect craze in Holland, like a violent epidemic seized upon all classes of the community. Gambling of an almost unparalleled nature was carried on in the bulbs, and the flower became fashionable everywhere. In the bouquets which the enamelers arranged with great taste, and painted with extraordinary skill, the tulip is always prominent.

This and many other flowers, and occasionally fruits, were painted in the same manner as a picture, on an enamel ground of uniform color—generally white, and sometimes pale blue, yellow, or black. Small plaques enameled and painted thus are popularly known by the name of “Louis Treize ” enamels, though the majority of them were produced after Louis XIII’s death in 1643.

About 1640 it became the custom occasionally to model the design in relief with a paste of white enamel, which was afterwards painted with vitreous colors according to nature. Towards the middle of the century the background of the flowers was pierced and cut away, so that every single flower, exquisitely modeled and colored, stood out by itself. In addition to tulips of every variety, and hyacinths, sunflowers, and roses, all kinds of lilies were in favor, especially the tipper-lily, the “crown imperial,” whose beautifully spotted blossoms were rendered in their natural colors with striking fidelity.

Flowers executed in this realistic style for jewelry were arranged chiefly in garlands and festoons.

The engravings, with natural flower ornamentation very finely designed and executed, were published about 1650. They comprise crosses, scissor, watch, and scent cases, and pendants—star- and bow-shaped, and set each with a pendent pearl.

To sum up the characteristic styles of seventeenth-century ornament which we have endeavored to describe, the first feature is the general preference for precious stones, and especially diamonds, and the use of the ” pea-pod “ornament for displaying them. From this style we pass, secondly, to the ” “silhouette ” designs. Thirdly comes the development of naturalistic flower designs.

Purchase Handmade Bead Jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings


Purchase Handmade Bead Jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings

THE girdle is an important ornament in the dress of the Renaissance. From the beginning of the sixteenth century it differs considerably from the medieval pattern already discussed. In place of the stiff hoop about the hips, it was worn loosely across the body from above the right hip down towards the left thigh, where the upper garment was passed over it in a light fold. At this point was the clasp, from which hung numerous small articles necessary to the active housewife. Another style of wearing it, which appears to have been adopted for more sumptuous dress, was one where it more firmly encircled the body, and from a clasp in front, hung down in a long end, terminating in a special ornamental appendage—a scent-case or pomander.

The common material was leather or stuff, such as was employed for men’s girdles. The long and narrow thong of leather was worn by all classes. The majority of Renaissance girdles, confined solely to female attire, were made entirely of silver or silver gilt, and even of silvered or gilded bronze. They took the form of flat chains composed of links, generally with solid pieces in the shape of oblong plaques, of cast or chased work, introduced at regular intervals. The solid parts, particularly those that formed the clasps, were occasionally enriched with enamels, precious stones, or engraved gems.

The majority of collections contain specimens of such girdles; but simpler kinds, composed entirely of ring-shaped links, which, judging from numerous Flemish, Dutch, and German portraits, must have been in very general use in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, are much less frequently met with. A good example of such, a chain in silver-gilt, of German work of the second half of the sixteenth century, is preserved at Brussels.

It is formed of rounded grooved links. At one end is a rosette-shaped girdle plate set with a white crystal, and having a hook behind to catch into any link of the chain. The other end terminates in a pear-shaped pomander divided for the reception of different cosmetics into two parts.

A considerable number of girdles of leather or strips of material are found mounted after the medieval style with buttons or studs, and instead of clasps, have buckles at one end, and at the other the pendants common in earlier times.

It is not unusual to meet with girdles of Flemish or German work which, though dating from the latter part of the seventeenth century, are ornamented with Gothic patterns. The buckle and pendant {mordant), deeply pierced with open-work tracery of flamboyant design, are generally united by only a short thong, and are so overcharged with ornament that it is doubtful if they could have been of any practical use. Such objects appear in reality to be but specimens of their work submitted by girdlers who were desirous of obtaining admission to the Girdlers’ Company.

They serve to show how long-lived were Gothic traditions among the guilds. Examples in silver or bronze gilt are to be found in the Germanic Museum, Nuremberg, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wallace Collection, and in many other public collections.

A number of articles, both useful and ornamental, were suspended from the girdle. For practical purposes the housewife carried at her side, besides a knife, such objects as small scissors in a case, a purse, and also her keys. Cases for knives were attached either by silken cords or by chains. When cords were employed the cover was furnished with loops on each side through which the cords slid.

Open quiver-like sheaths for knives hung by chains were often worn, in order to display the rich decoration of the knife-heads. The Italianate costume, such as is found in the type of ” Vanity” in emblem books of the age, and which made its way everywhere, favored the addition of many other accessories to the girdles, such as fans, gloves, looking-glasses, books, watches, scent-cases, and pomanders.

Mirrors, besides being worn from the neck, formed, as did miniature-cases, a frequent pendant from the girdle. These were either in a frame of ivory or goldsmith’s work, or inserted in the fan. Their handles terminate with small rings for attachment by a chain to the girdle. In the Louvre is an interesting pendent mirror-case, or rather back of a mirror, formed of an oval plaque of glass encrusted with designs in enamel on gold.

RENAISSANCE GIRDLE PENDANTS bearing inscriptions, and small books, mainly devotional, were also worn at the girdle. It appears to have been a common practice for ladies to carry such books. Queen Elizabeth had several. Among the jewels given to Queen Elizabeth in1582, was “a little book of gold enameled. Diamond and rubies, with clasps all hung from a chain of gold.

The inventory of the jewels of the Duchess of Somerset, widow of the Protector, in 1587, likewise contains a book of gold enameled black. Two drawings for small pendent books intended to be in black enamel appear among Holbein’s designs for jewelry in the British Museum, and the Earl of Romney possesses a small manuscript Prayer Book in binding of enameled gold of the same style. The most magnificent book-cover in existence, provided with loops for hanging by a chain to the girdle, is one preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is of enameled gold, and has been ascribed to Cellini. Of less beauty, though of great interest as an example of English work, is the gold binding of a pendent Prayer Book in the British Museum.

The subjects on the sides, raised and enameled, are the Brazen Serpent, and the Judgment of Solomon, with English inscriptions around. It is said to be the work of George Heriot of Edinburgh, and there is a tradition that it was worn by Queen Elizabeth. Whatever associations this object may have had with Elizabeth, there is better authority for such with regard to the small book of prayers, the property of Lord Fitz-hardinge, and one of the Hunsdon heirlooms.

This very interesting English jewel is of gold, inlaid with black enamel, with a rosette of white enamel at each corner. The center of one cover is decorated with translucent red and green enamel, that of the other with a shell cameo. It contains the last prayer of King Edward VI in MS. written on vellum.

Though occasionally worn suspended from the neck-chain, watches appear to have been more frequently carried at the girdle—a position somewhat similar to that which they subsequently occupied upon the chatelaine. The honor of the invention of portable timepieces is probably due to Peter Henlein, of Nuremberg, in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, but it was not till a century later that they came into anything like general use.

The cases, which received the same beautiful enrichment in the way of enamel-work and precious stones as was bestowed on other personal ornaments of the time,were made to emit the sound of the ticking and striking, and the lid was pierced with an aperture over each hour, through which the position of the hand might be seen.

Not only square, oval, octagonal, and cruciform watches occur, but some in such fanciful shapes as death’s-heads, books, shells, acorns, tulips, pears, etc.; while rock crystal (to render the works visible) and other stones were often converted into cases. Oval watches, known as ” Nuremberg eggs,” are usually reckoned among the earliest, but this title was not given to watches till some time after their invention. All egg-watches that have been preserved belong to the seventeenth century.

In Hollar’s set of plates of the Four Seasons, dated 1641, the lady representing Summer has on her left side depending from her girdle an object of this shape, apparently a watch. The most important pendent ornament to the girdle, from the present point of view, is the pomander, the early history of which has already been alluded to.

Throughout the sixteenth, and until about the middle of the century following, the pomander formed an almost invariable adjunct” to the girdle, and was occasionally, in the case of men, hung to the long and heavy chains worn at that period round the neck.’ Most of the pendants still termed pomanders were, as has been already noted, in reality cases for scents or different cosmetics; but from their fruit-like shape, though often innocent of the original pomander ball, they have retained the title, but solely, it would seem, in our own language. I will have my pomander of most sweet smell, also my chains of gold to hang about my neck said many of this period of time.

Purchase Handmade Bead Jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings


Purchase Handmade Bead Jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings


THE splendor-loving sixteenth century far surpassed the Middle Ages in the use of the finger rings. No other ornament of the Renaissance attained such richness and profusion. In sixteenth and seventeenth century portraits rings are represented in such quantities that the hands appear overburdened with them; while the number entered in the old inventories is astounding.

Yet it is well to remember that the word ring, was a general term for all pendent jewels—though not infrequently a distinction in the lists is drawn between ring, earring and pendant. The extraordinary abundance of finger rings in use at the time may best be judged by a list in the inventory of Henry VIII of the year 1530, which contains no less than 234. Of the large number of Renaissance rings that have survived, most are of a purely ornamental character; and though many others are of interest on account of their emblematic or historical associations, those which display artistic work require the chief consideration.

Out of all the rings that simply served the purpose of decoration, there are very few whose nationality can be easily determined. If it is difficult in the case of pendants and similar ornaments to come to a decision with regard to the question of provenance, it is even more so where rings are concerned.

Pictures of the period, as has been said, represent persons with their hands heavily loaded with rings, which are worn upon all the fingers, the thumb included. Every finger-joint up to the very nail is covered with them, and they are worn, as by the ancient Romans, even upon the knuckles. The great projection of the rings’ bezels would have rendered the use of gloves impossible, were it not, as we know from pictures, for the custom of placing the rings outside the gloves, and also for the somewhat ugly fashion of slitting the fingers of the gloves, in order that they might be worn with greater comfort, and allow the rings themselves to be displayed.

In a portrait of a lady by Lucas Cranach in the National Gallery, rings are worn both over and beneath the gloves, every finger and the thumbs having two or three. The rings under the gloves appear on the top of the second knuckle of every finger, and are visible through the marks made in the gloves at these points. In other pictures by this artist, such as that entitled ” Judith ” at Vienna, and in the works of his contemporaries in Germany, the same slashed gloves are to be seen. Men’s gloves, too, like their doublets, were slashed.

A signet ring of Bristol diamond is revealed through the cut in his glove to show his pride, That his trim jewel might be better viewed. The tendency of placing the stone in a very high bezel was a tradition from the Middle Ages, where a preference had always been shown for the stone being so set.

The ornamental rings of the Renaissance 1 followed a uniform outline as far as their bezels and settings were concerned. They contained, as a rule, one stone only, backed by foil and set in a boxlike Colette, square and pyramidal, and closed behind. The gold was rubbed over the setting edge of the stone, and the four side surfaces then decorated in a variety of ways by the application of enamel, and sometimes overlaid with an additional ornamentation in imitation of claws.

The stone itself, usually table-cut, was frequently a ruby. One peculiar variety of ring, known from the early part of the fifteenth century, is deserving of note. Its design was founded upon the natural shape of the diamond, and was distinguished by a very high bezel, which received one half of the shape and allowed the other to project upwards. Rings set thus with pointed diamonds were in high favor until the middle of the seventeenth century, and were employed for writing upon glass—a practice

which appears to have been much in vogue.

Several old portraits exhibit rings strung upon men’s necklaces, or hung from a thin cord round the neck. A portrait in the Berlin Gallery, shows a ring worn thus, and in two portraits by Lucas Cranach— representing Johann Fried-rich of Saxony attired as a bridegroom, and the other at Dresden, of the Elector Johann the Constant of Saxony (1526)—rings are hung similarly round the neck. Rings were also worn in the hat. A round the cap is fixed a thin wire-shaped band of gold, with a strip of cloth wound spirally round it. The latter serves to fix at regular intervals four gold rings, three of them set with cabochon stones and the fourth with a pointed diamond. A similar kind of decoration is alluded to where a servant is mentioned carrying” to a maiden an enameled posy ring which his master had worn sewn upon his hat. The rings worn thus were in many cases betrothal or engagement rings ; but those that served this purpose generally assumed special forms, and were among the most ingenious productions of the time. They were composed of twin or double hoops. The outer side of the two hoops was convex and elaborately ornamented, while the inner side was flat and often bore some inscription.

The two hoops were wrought so exactly alike, that, together with the stones, they appeared to be one ring yet could be separated, and the one hung from the other. Their bezels were occasionally formed of clasped hands. Ordinary one-hoop rings also bore the same design. Another kind of betrothal or engagement ring was the “posy” ring, generally of simple form, with a verse, a name, or a motto engraved inside it. The posy ring, suitably inscribed, was also used as a wedding-ring. The simple posy ring belongs, however, chiefly to the seventeenth century. The elaborate betrothal ring seems to have been employed at this time as a wedding-ring as well. It was reserved for modern times to give the wedding-ring its smooth, convenient, but artistically unimportant form. Widely distributed among the North German peasantry are certain peculiar wedding-rings, which, as a rule, contain a couple of the heart-shaped milk-teeth of the young roe-buck, with a small lock from which hang two keys—a symbol which perhaps not inaptly indicates the union of two pure hearts.

Dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but wholly different from the Renaissance form of ring, and very large and elaborate, are the Jewish wedding-rings, which were used only at the ceremony and then preserved by the family. They are composed of a broad band adorned with filigree (probably in keeping with some ancient Oriental tradition) arranged in bosses and rosettes and enriched with light blue, light green, and other enamel. In place of a bezel there is often the model of a building with high gabled roofs and enameled tiles, pierced by windows, and having movable weathercocks on the apex; an inscription in Hebrew characters on the shank contains the motto ” Good star.”

It was the custom to arrange finger rings upon a rod when not in use or when exposed for exhibition in the jeweler’s shop, and in paintings it is no uncommon thing to see a line of rings of various patterns what appears to be a roll of parchment.

In Henry VIII’s inventory of 1527 we find: “Upon a finger-stall, seven rings, one a ruby, another an emerald, and a turquoise, another a table diamond, another a triangular diamond, another a rocky diamond”; also in 1530: “A roll with thirty-nine Paris rings, with small stones.”

In the Duke of Newcastle’s comedy mention is made of an extravagant person “who makes his fingers like jewelers’ cards to set rings upon.” In Munich, is a most interesting picture by Paris Bordone representing a jeweler with a quantity of his treasures lying on a table before him. Every item is painted with extreme care. Twelve massive finger rings, arranged in three rows of four, are displayed in an oblong ring-box, just in the same manner as one might expect to find them in a jeweler’s shop of the present day. A somewhat similar picture by Lorenzo Lotto, in the Kaufmann Collection in Berlin, represents a jeweler holding in his left hand a box full of rings and in his right a single specimen.

By far the most attractive of the fine engravings of jewelry by Pierre Woeiriot of Lorraine is his beautiful set of rings. M. Foulc, of Paris, is generally credited with the possession of the only complete set of these engravings. A perfect specimen of the work is, however, preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, to which it was bequeathed by the well-known antiquary Francis Douce in 1834. It comprises forty plates, each containing one or more rings to the number of ninety-six, and furnishes striking examples of the taste and inventive genius then bestowed on these minute objects.

Nevertheless, engravings can convey but small idea of the color effect, and the wonderful charm that the actual rings possess. In order to fully appreciate them, one must visit the three great English collections of them now accessible to the public: the South Kensington Collection, containing the greater part of that formed by Edmund Waterton ; the Drury Fortnum Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford ; and above all, the collection in the British Museum, which includes the splendid series bequeathed by Sir A. W. Franks, in which were absorbed the Braybrooke, Londesborough, and some minor cabinets, together with the best from the Soden Smith Collection, as well as the choicest from the Pichon and from many foreign sales.

The bracelet during this period plays ‘a scarcely more prominent part than it did in the Middle Ages, and probably owing to the same reason ; for in Renaissance times the fashion of leaving the arms bare was not in favor, and the long sleeves that fell over the hand were retained. A few examples presented by pictures lead to the supposition that bracelets consisted of beads of amber or jet separated by balls of gold, or of rows of cameos.

Catarina Cornaro in her portrait by Titian in the Uffizi wears a bracelet upon her wrist over the sleeve, while the portrait of a lady by Cranach in the National Gallery shows that the sleeves were occasionally slashed at the wrists to exhibit the bracelets beneath them, just as were the fingers of gloves for the purpose of displaying rings. Inventories supply a certain amount of information concerning bracelets. Henry VIII in1530 possessed seventeen, including one of “Paris work, one with eight diamonds, eight rubies, fourteen pearls, and a diamond rose.”

Elizabeth received a large number of bracelets among her New Year’s gifts. In the inventory of Mary Stuart’s jewels are ” Others are formed, as were necklaces, of beads of filigree enclosing perfumes: “References to bracelets by writers of the period show-that they were not infrequently worn as love tokens. Thus in Beaumont and Fletcher’s Cupids Revenge :— Given ear-rings we will wear Bracelets of our lovers’ hair, Which they on our arms shall twist With our names carved on our wrist.

Contemporary designs prove that bracelets followed the same elaborate forms as other articles of jewelry, as may be seen from the engraved designs of Ducerceau, and the Livre de Bijouterie of Rene Boyvin of Angers (1530-1598). One of the most interesting bracelets—as far as actual specimens are concerned—is preserved at Berkeley Castle among the heirlooms bequeathed by George Carey, Lord Hunsdon, who died in 1603. It is of crystal and gold, 31 inches in diameter. The crystal, a complete circlet overlaid with open-work gold, is encrusted all round with rubies, and has at intervals four clusters of rubies around a sapphire.

It is somewhat difficult to arrive at a decision as to the origin of this remarkable object. It seems to bear traces of Oriental influence in the setting of the stones, though the gold work is of different quality from what one would expect to find in Indian work. If, like the jewel at Berkeley, this armlet is to be associated with Sir Francis Drake, it may well have been obtained by him as part of some Spanish spoil, in like manner to the ” crystal bracelet set in gold” procured by Sir Matthew Morgan at the capture of Cadiz in 1596— Cadiz being then the staple town for all the trades of the Levant and of the Indies. Bracelets formed of cameos are met with sometimes on portraits.

A pair of bracelets formed each of seven oval shell cameos representing figures of animals, enclosed in gold mounting enriched with blue enamel, and hinged together by a double chain ornamented with rosettes enameled green. On the under side of the larger cameos which form the clasps are two interlacing C’s within a wreath of palm and olive, enameled green, and a barred S in blue enamel at each angle. These bracelets, of which the cameos as well as the mountings are of fine sixteenth-century work, have been traditionally associated with Diana of Poitiers. But the interlaced C’s, according to M. Babelon, are in all probability the initials of some lady of the family of Harlay, from whom the bracelets were acquired. Bracelets, like necklaces, were not infrequently composed entirely of gold, with interwoven links, like mail-chains.

RENAISSANCE BUTTONS fluted links, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Its clasp is enriched with a floral pattern in translucent enamel. Three similar bracelets forming part of the Holtzendorff treasure from Pinnow (Ucker-Mark,N. Germany) are in the Germanic Museum, Nuremberg. They are composed of circular links, and have flat clasps like the bracelet just mentioned, ornamented with coats of arms in enamel.

One of the most important of ornaments throughout the Middle Ages was the brooch ; but towards the end of the fifteenth century the mode of wearing garments changed, and brooches disappeared little by little, till in Renaissance times they were rarely employed, except as ornaments for the hat. It is true that sixteenth-century inventories contain an immense number of brooches—Henry VIII had no less than 324—but nearly all these, the larger ones especially, were worn as enseignes upon the hat; while the smaller were employed not as dress fasteners, but simply as ornaments sewn or pinned at regular intervals upon the front of the dress or the borders of the sleeves.

A single elaborate jeweled brooch is sometimes seen in pictures attached to the upper part of the sleeve. We see it thus on the figure of Arithmetic in a famous fresco of the Vatican, and later in English pictures, notably the well-known painting in Sherborne Castle, Dorset, representing Queen Elizabeth’s procession.

The ladies of her retinue have jewels fastened to the sleeves of their right arms. The garments of this period were not fastened by means of brooches, but were closed with buttons or points, or with hooks and eyes. Sleeves were often held on by buttons to which the sleeve-loops or points were tied, while other portions of the clothing, especially if of leather and cumbersome to button, were secured with loops or hooks and eyes.

The slashing of the dress were sometimes closed by buttons or pompoms formed of stones surrounded by pearls. Similar button-like ornaments, jeweled and richly enameled, of which examples exist, were worn in rows all over the dress, but their delicate form and often irregular shape exclude the supposition that they were used as actual buttons. Of ornaments of this kind Mary Queen of Scots possessed a large number.

These individual jeweled ornaments, which it was the practice to sew on the dress at regular intervals by way of trimming, may be treated as distinct from ornamentation which formed part of the actual costume, such as masses of pearls and precious stones, with which dresses were literally loaded. Individual jewels often took the form of the monogram, crest, or device of the owner, in pure gold richly decorated. A curious instance of this custom has already been alluded to in connection with what occurred during the masque given by Henry VIII at Westminster. The fashion for wearing ornaments in the form of jeweled initials was still in vogue on the quilted dresses of the time of James I. Anne of Denmark is represented in her portraits wearing them both on her ruff and in her hair, and a “jewel, in form of an A and two CC, sett with diamonds ” and others of similar kind are to be found in the lists of jewels supplied to the Queen by George Heriot.

Except occasionally for buttons, the chief means employed for fastening the garments was by ornamental loops or eyelets, formed of cords terminating with goldsmith’s work, were movable and were changed from one dress to another according to pleasure. They are seen in pictures hanging not only from slashes and various parts of the garments, but also from the cap; and Henry VIII is described as wearing a cap ornamented with gold enameled tags.

Purchase Handmade Bead Jewelry at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings



Give Handmade Bead Jewelry for your Christmas Gifts from Carmilita Earrings. All purchases are shipped in a gift box ready for gift giving.

Purchase at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings

THE custom of exchanging presents on a certain day in the year is very much older than Christmas, and means very much less. It is a tradition in almost all ages of the world, and among many different nations. It is a fine thing or a foolish thing, as the case may be; an encouragement to friendliness, or a tribute to fashion; an expression of good nature, or a bid for favor; an outgoing of generosity, or a disguise of greed; a cheerful old custom, or a futile old farce, according to the spirit which animates it and the form which it takes.

But when this ancient and variously interpreted tradition of a day of gifts was transferred to the Christmas season, it was brought into vital contact with an idea which must transform it, and with an example which must lift it up to a higher plane. The example is the life of Jesus. The idea is unselfish interest in the happiness of others. The great gift of Jesus to the world was himself. He lived with and for men. He kept back nothing. In every particular and personal gift that he made to certain people there was something of himself that made it precious. For example, at the wedding in Canaan of Galilee, it was his thought for the feelings of the giver of the feast, and his wish that every guest should find due entertainment, that lent the favor of a heavenly hospitality to the wine which he provided.

When he gave bread and fish to the hungry multitude who had followed him out among the hills by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were refreshed and strengthened by the sense of the personal care of Jesus for their welfare, as much as by the food which he bestowed upon them. It was another illustration of the sweetness of “a dinner of herbs, where love is.” The gifts of healing which he conferred upon many different kinds of sufferers were, in every case, evidences that Jesus was willing to give something of himself, his thought, his sympathy, his vital power, to the men and women among whom he lived.

Once, when a paralytic was brought to Jesus on a bed, he surprised everybody, and offended many, by giving the poor wretch the pardon of his sins, before he gave new life to his body. That was just because Jesus thought before he gave; because he desired to satisfy the deepest need; because in fact he gave something of himself in every gift. All true Christmas-giving ought to be after this pattern.

Not that it must all be solemn and serious. For the most part it deals with little wants, little joys, little tokens of friendly feeling. But the feeling must be more than the token; else the gift does not really belong to Christmas. It takes time and effort and unselfish expenditure of strength to make gifts in this way. But it is the only way that fits the season.

The finest Christmas gift is not the one that costs the most money, but the one that carries the most love. But how seldom Christmas comes— only once a year; and how soon it is over—a night and a day! If that is the whole of it, it seems not much more durable than the little toys that one buys on the street-corner. They run for an hour, and then the spring breaks, and the legs come off and nothing remains but a contribution to the dust heap. But surely that need not and ought not to be the whole of Christmas —only a single day of generosity, ransomed from the dull servitude of a selfish year,—only a single night of merry-making, celebrated in the slave-quarters of a selfish race!

If every gift is the token of a personal thought, a friendly feeling, an unselfish interest in the joy of others, then the thought, the feeling, the interest, may remain after the gift is made.

The little present, or the rare and long-wished-for gift (it matters not whether the vessel be of gold, or silver, or iron, or wood, or clay, or just a small bit of birch bark folded into a cup), may carry a message something like this:

“I am thinking of you to-day, because it is Christmas, and I wish you happiness. And to-morrow, because it will be the day after Christmas, I shall still wish you happiness; and so on, clear through the year. I may not be able to tell you about it every day, because I may be far away; or because both of us may be very busy; or perhaps because I cannot even afford to pay the postage on so many letters, or find the time to write them. But that makes no difference.

The thought and the wish will be here just the same. In my work and in the business of life, I mean to try not to be unfair to you or injure you in any way. In my pleasure, if we can be together, I would like to share the fun with you. Whatever joy or success comes to you will make me glad. Without pretense, and in plain words, good-will to you is what I mean, in the Spirit of Christmas.

It is not necessary to put a message like this into high-flown language, to swear absolute devotion and deathless consecration. In love and friendship, small, steady payments on a gold basis are better than immense promissory notes. Nor, indeed, is it always necessary to put the message into words at all, nor even to convey it by a tangible token. To feel it and to act it out—that is the main thing.

There are a great many people in the world whom we know more or less, but to whom for various reasons we cannot very well send a Christmas gift. But there is hardly one, in all the circles of our acquaintance, with whom we may not exchange the touch of Christmas life.

In the outer circles, cheerful greetings, courtesy, consideration; in the inner circles, sympathetic interest, hearty congratulations, honest encouragement; in the “inmost” circle, comradeship, helpfulness, tenderness,— ” Beautiful friendship tried by sun and wind Durable from the daily dust of life.” After all, Christmas-living each and every day is the best kind of Christmas-giving.

Give Handmade Bead Jewelry for your Christmas Gifts from Carmilita Earrings. All purchases are shipped in a gift box ready for gift giving.

Purchase at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/carmilitaearrings