The Wanton Collection > earrings

Piqué Heart Demi-Parure

Piqué Heart Demi-Parure

Tortoiseshell jewels inlaid with gold and silver piqué reached their zenith in the 1860s. Introduced to the English by the French Huguenots, piqué work was time-consuming and tedious. Heated tortoiseshell was molded into the desired shape and inscribed with tiny bits of gold and silver.

The heart, a symbol of everlasting love and affection, was a wildly popular motif in the mid-nineteenth century. This dramatic necklace of gob stopper-sized hearts is a rarity, not only for its grand scale but also for its accompanying matching earrings. The necklace is composed of nine lustrous tortoiseshell hearts of graduating size, hanging from bow-shaped links. Each heart is embellished with stars of minuscule pique circles surrounded by a gold frame and further outlined with tiny gold dots and a gold border. A barrel clasp joins the links. The repetition of forms and the dark sheen of the tortoiseshell make for a very fetching necklace.

The matching earrings consist of a tortoiseshell bead surmount with piqué circles from which dangle the inlaid bow motif and large heart drops.


Era: Victorian
Origin: England
Circa: 1860
Condition: Excellent
Materials: Tortoiseshell, gold and silver
Dimensions: Necklace: 40.6 cm long; earrings 7.3 cm long and 4.76 cm wide 
Weight: 5.0 grams (earrings), 62.0 grams (necklace)

Wear it with:

A sweetheart neckline, of course