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LATE 19TH CENTURY EMERALD AND AMETHYST TIARA
LATE 19TH CENTURY EMERALD AND AMETHYST TIARA
LATE 19TH CENTURY EMERALD AND AMETHYST TIARA
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LATE 19TH CENTURY EMERALD AND AMETHYST TIARA

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LATE 19TH CENTURY EMERALD AND AMETHYST TIARA Cabochon and flat-cut emeralds, pear-shaped amethysts, closed-back, silver and gold, circa 1890, velvet covered tiara frame, 3.8 cm high, purple fitted case by Mrs Newman, Goldsmith & Court Jeweller 58 Duke St Grosvenor Sq, W1

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Lot Essay

Charlotte Isabella Newman (1836-1920), usually known as Mrs Philip Newman is widely regarded as the first important female studio jeweller. She began working for the influential antiquarian jeweller John Brogden in the 1860s and was active in London for the last four decades of the 19th century. A skilled goldsmith, trained in the art of granulation, she produced jewels in a range of ancient styles, from Byzantine to Renaissance revival and exhibited alongside Brogden at the Paris International Exhibitions in 1867, winning a medal of honour in 1878. In the mid-1880s after Brogden’s death, she established her own business at 10 Savile Row, producing the latest aesthetic fashions in jewellery design and describing herself as 'Mrs. Newman, Goldsmith and Court Jeweller'. The business later moved to Duke Street and was taken over by her daughter and granddaughter, eventually closing on the eve of World War II.

During the 1870s a small but influential group of aesthetes began to criticise the conventional jewellery designs of the period and the reliance on past historical styles and this lead to a growing admiration for the art of the East and the decorative arts of Japan and India. Some commentators felt that modern jewellery had been ruined by the extensive use of mechanisation in the production process and there was also a growing artistic reaction against the supremacy of the diamond. After Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1876, all things Indian, including jewellery began to appeal not only to the art critics who had first admired it, but to an even wider audience. The fact that this jewellery was entirely handmade with a lack of symmetry and precision appealed to those that advocated handcraftsmanship and the use of coloured gems cut in simple forms. This unusual tiara in the Indian taste is typical of the artistic jewels that Mrs Newman supplied to her select clientele from the late 19th century through to the first quarter of the 20th century.

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