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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Historic Adornment



( Article orginally published May 1952 )

A Queen's Jewels

One of the things that impressed newspaper men and women about the recent visit of Queen Juliana of Holland to the United States was the fact that she brought along her world renowned collection of jewels. The Queen inherited these pieces from her mother, and they are one of the great assets of the House of Orange.

Etruscan Jewelry

Etruria was an ancient country northwest of Rome. It was conquered by the Romans 283 years before Christ. The Etruscan ruling classes, when at their zenith, were pleasure loving people, fond of luxury and gaiety and personal adornment.

In 1832 archaeologists found a set of 12 pieces of exquisitely wrought jewelry in one of the Etruscan tombs. The tomb contained two chambers, one with the body of a warrior, the other the, remains of a woman. The jewelry was lying alongside the remains of the woman, excepting a large ring which was found on !the finger of the man. The man's chamber housed bronze vases. a bronze tripod which is now owned bv the Vatican, and some armor indicating that their owner had been a warrior.

The excavation included necklaces, pendants and earrings and the designs combine the arts of the lapidist and the goldsmith. The pieces thought to be earrings are large disc-like affairs decorated with a border of lotus flowersi and palmettes and filigree designs.

These pieces are now the property of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, N. Y.

Spring Styles, Apparently

A small collection of tie pins with pearls decorating a blue straw hat.

A red and white cameo pin used as the focal point of interest atop a beret.

A large gold band, similar to the old fashioned wedding ring being used to hold a scarf together.

A silver coach curio ornament fitted with a pin to wear as a brooch.

A collector of keys will say this is sacrilegious - one designer's use of seventeenth century keys suspended from a chain for use as a necklace.

Signet Rings

In ancient times every person of wealth and position owned a ring cut with his signet. What photography holds for the average man of today, the gem, cutter was to the people of his time, particularly in Greece and Rome. Portraits were cut in cameo and the reverse of cameo, intaglio, produced a cameo effect on the wax when the seal was lifted. These engraved stones represent the only remaining "portraits" in some instances, of the famous personages of ancient times. The gem cutter of those times cut on such hard stones as the emerald, amethyst, sapphire, sardonyx, chalcedony and carnelian. The amethyst was a popular stone for the rings of bishops, and Cleopatra, herself, thought so well of the stone, or else her gem cutter sold her on the Idea, that she had her signet cut on the amethyst.

The art of engraving gems is an old one. About 1840 it seemed to die out.



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