We love this example of late 19th century jewellery from the October sale of Antique & Modern Jewellery at Fellows Auction House.
The design of the necklace represents the style of the era with its complex, intricate detailing, ribbon designs and graduating fringes. The diamonds on the necklace are set in yellow gold, but the diamonds mounts are silver fronted to make them appear whiter – very typical of the time. Now a days jewellers will use platinum or white gold to achieve this look.
The main feature on the necklace is oval shaped Australian opals. With their flashes of vivid striking colours and beautiful shapes, Australian opals were a popular choice set alongside diamonds. The opals in this necklace display fantastic glimmers of colours – including flashes of reds, blues, greens and violets bringing the stones to life.
Australian Opals go back million of years ago. These particular opals were formed back when parts of Australian was covered by vast amounts of sea. The stone segment in the sea was deposited along the shoreline and when the sea eventually flooded off the inland the water flushed silica into the stone sediment along with the remains of animals and plants, which all slowly developed into colourful opals.