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Amazing Antique Necklaces and Pendants

Victorian

Castellani Victorian necklace in the Victoria & Albert Museum

Pendants were worn on gold chains, on strings of pearls or on velvet ribbons during the Victorian era. Archaeological finds around the world inspired jewellery design and ancient Etruscan themed pieces with corded wire and granulation - like the Castellani piece to the right in the Victoria & Albert museum - became fashionable. Large lockets were a Victorian favourite and these were often gem-set, enamelled or engraved with monograms and other patterns. Mourning lockets were often decorated with enamel, onyx and pearls.

Fringed necklaces, delicate thin gold wire necklaces, dog collars and sautoirs all became popular towards the end of the Victorian era, as Princess Alexandra (below) became a style icon and the Victorian began to shift towards the Edwardian. By the end of the Victorian period, small brooches that often doubled as pendants gained popularity, usually gem-set with pearls, diamonds and other stones.

Princess Alexandra / Queen Alexandra Great Britain in her necklaces

Edwardian

Dog collars remained an important features of a ladies' jewellery collection until the First World War, as did even wider pearl chokers. In addition, twisted ropes of tiny seed pearls were knotted at the bottom and worn as sautoirs.

Around 1900 the lavalliere necklace appeared - this was a very simple chain necklace supporting a pear shaped pendant or drop pearl. A variation was the Edna May pendant which consisted of a simple collet set stone or cluster, suspended from a smaller stone by a simple link. The negligee pendant necklace was also a characteristic jewellery design of the Edwardian era, and consisted of two gem-set drops, usually of unequal length.

Pendants of the early 1900s featured ribbons, bows, garlands of flowers, geometrical motifs and millegrain-set diamonds, while less expensive pendants were set with seed pearls, amethysts, turquoise and peridot.

Art Deco & 1920s Neckaces

Art Deco

The sautoir remained an important necklace and suited the flapper dresses that were fashionable in the 1920s. Deco sautoir necklaces were set with many different materials: diamonds, pearls, coral, semi-precious and hardstones.

When it came to Art Deco pendants, elongated designs which swung with the body to the rhythm of 1920s dances were the height of fashion.

Geometric patterns with diamonds and coloured stones were set in straight lines, chevrons, circles and zigzags along with Chinese, Indian and Egyptian motifs.