The Wanton Collection > earrings

Iberian Emerald and Diamond Girondole Earrings

Iberian Emerald and Diamond Girandole Earrings

The girandole, named for the ornate and curvaceous candelabra of the era, was the most popular form of earring in the eighteenth century and remains an enduring favorite today. Consisting of three basic parts: a surmount, a bow-shaped central motif and three drops, this compelling design flattered the era’s low-cut dresses and upswept hair. The newly discovered Brazilian mines of 1723 provided a treasure trove of gems for the girandole. In turn, the girandole exploited the optical properties of faceted diamonds and gemstones following the development of the brilliant cut. Advancements in domestic candles created additional opportunities for showcasing the girandole wearer at evening events. Not surprisingly, a symbiotic relationship ensued.

These voluptuous emerald girandoles are perfect examples of their genre. From the circular surmount hangs an elaborate ribbon bow motif surrounded by floral scrolls of table-cut emeralds framed with single-cut diamonds set in silver. Three pear-shaped drops dangle below. The combination of emeralds and diamonds reveals their Spanish origin: emeralds were readily accessible from Columbian mines as Columbia was under Spanish rule. As typical of the period, the gems are foil backed to enhance their color. This pair is most likely from the second half of the eighteenth century, when gemstones were combined with diamonds and the central drop was elongated to create a more vertical outline. The gold ear wires are a later addition.


Period: Georgian
Circa: 1760
Origin: Spain
Condition: Excellent
Materials: Emeralds and sterling silver
Dimensions: 8.9 cm long, 45 mm wide
Weight: 38.7 grams


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