Necklaces composed of a graduated series of articulated arrow-shaped fringes became highly fashionable in the late 19th century due to the influence of the Romanov Imperial Court. This type of fringe necklace, which could also often be converted into a tiara, were known as ‘collier russe’, ‘frange de pierreries’, or ‘Kokoshnik’, the last name derived from the traditional Russian head dress bearing the same name. Some of these necklaces do indeed emanate from Russia, but the form was so popular that many were also produced in Europe.
One of the earliest known examples is the fringe tiara that belonged to King William IV’s wife, Queen Adelaide (1792 –1849). The diamonds used were from the collection of King George III and it was manufactured by the Royal Goldsmith, Rundell Bridge & Rundell in 1831. Another notable early example; originally part of the Romanov jewels (no 30 Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones, Moscow 1925-26) most likely also dates from the early 19th century. This example was threaded together and transformable into a tiara when sewn onto a velvet band.
The workmanship, closed back mounting and threading on string of lot 260 suggest that this necklace may also be a rare early example, possibly created in the 18th century or early 19th century.