Today great pieces of antique jewellery made mostly by men for women are appreciated for their aesthetic qualities and for what they represent about the evolution of humankind and their intrinsic value; the very nature of the gems that come from the earth.
Antique jewels provide a unique glimpse into a past world that is fast disappearing from view. They continue to dazzle because down the ages jewellers have coaxed great beauty from a huge variety of materials to captivate and inspire.
The ideal piece of jewellery has always been designed to showcase a particular woman; a gown, a lifestyle and colouring. They are ‘classic'; of renowned excellence with a proven ability to turn heads wherever you may go.
Anne Schofield has been an antique jewellery dealer for over four decades on Queen Street, Woollahra at Sydney. As a founding Member of the Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association (AA&ADA), Anne Schofield Antiques has exhibited at numerous fairs both nationally in Australia, as well as internationally.
Renowned for her amazing ability to recognise exquisitely designed jewellery, Anne Schofield offers those pieces that have achieved a pinnacle of excellence in the art of design. She specialises in 18th, 19th and early 20th century fine quality jewellery, including Australian jewellery on which she has written the definitive tome.
Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, garnets and amethysts, I would have to say like many women, I would love to own the glorious Georgian amethyst riviere with earrings (demi-parure) that features as number one in the Anne Schofield Antiques catalogue for Christmas 2017.
Twenty-eight superbly linked amethysts in a closed back foiled gold setting made around 1820. Georgian jewellery has a softness and beauty hard to surpass.
A riviére was a type of necklace strung with graduated gemstones of the same variety, usually individually set without any other ornamentation. They remained popular throughout the nineteenth century and it is becoming rare these days to find them in their original closed settings.
Louis Francois Cartier (1819-1904) founder of Maison Cartier encouraged his designers to and consult original eighteenth century pattern books and wander through the streets of Paris taking sketches of eighteenth century architectural detail. This type of inspiration resulted in the garland style, one that he made his own and others copied, with swags, bows and trails of diamond set flowers characterize it.
Whether purchased for yourself or a significant other, antique jewellery like the stunning ‘bow’ in the catalogue when given with love is for the receiver, a very special work of art to cherish and enjoy wearing.
You may feel like pledging your fidelity this Xmas for someone you love and seal it with the giving of a ring, which is a very powerful historical object because of the symbolism, stories, mystique, magic and realms of fantasy attached to its evolution.
There is a number to select from in Anne Schofield’s Gift Catalogue for 2017 that were the epitome of high style in their day and still have a message to deliver.
The French Art Deco styled platinum ring set with a central dark blue sapphire in an openwork setting with lines of small diamonds is exceedingly attractive, blue also being the colour of the sky.
Rings from ancient Roman and neo-classical intaglios and cameos to those carved in gemstones such as cornelian, amethyst and banded agate, a ring is about eternity; it has no beginning and no end and represents the enduring qualities of true love. It’s a wonderful present to give whatever finger it is being worn on.
You can make some very special choices containing sapphires that are perfect if the object of your love was born in September on a Friday, the day dedicated to the Roman Goddess Venus.
Royalty from Diana to Duchess Kate have preferred sapphires to diamonds to confirm their love, although they don’t mind if they go side by side. The sapphire reputedly attracts wealth and is meant to protect the wearer from envy and infidelity and bring harmony between lovers as well as peace between adversaries.
The lovely Art Nouveau styled seed pearl and diamond soutoir with the vase of flowers on the end of a stunning pearl and diamond chain set with diamonds, emeralds and sapphires would gladden any heart, especially the women of the Edwardian era, an age of elegance and softness. It comes in its original case labelled Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co Ltd, from Regent Street London.
At the time dressmakers clothed all the most fashionable women of their day in delicate softly coloured silks; lilac, pink, yellow, mauve, straw and hydrangea blue that would work well with the Art Nouveau carved horn pendants, one with a chrysanthemum that symbolises in the language of flowers, optimism and joy while the fuschia symbolises abundance.
We can talk all day about their beauty and appeal, but there is nothing like calling into Queen Street at Woollahra in Sydney, where you can consider giving the gift of love jewellery from Anne Schofield Antiques this Xmas.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017