November Jewel of the Month

This stunning rivière is set with 82 old cut diamonds in open backed silver cut down collets backed with gold. The graduated diamonds are estimated to weigh a combined total of approximately 12cts. The rivière necklace was an extremely popular design in the 18th and 19th centuries and was made from both diamonds and coloured stones, in uniform and graduated rows. The name translates literally as ‘river’ which perfectly alludes to the way these rows of stones would ripple around the base of the throat when worn.

They were a favourite with Royalty and courtiers both in Europe and further afield and were often worn in multiples to emphasise wealth and status. Guy Burton, Director of Hancocks London, comments: “This necklace is a lovely example of its kind and has a delicate femininity that many do not. It even hides a little secret! The central largest diamond conceals a hinged, drop-down loop meaning that a pendant could be added at will. This is a lovely extra feature that increases the versatility of the piece and allows for personalisation. “It is beautifully articulated and feels wonderfully silky and fluid. The diamonds are bright and lively and have been nicely graduated in a continual tapering from front to back. “The necklace comes in its original silk and velvet lined fitted leather case from the Royal Warrant holding jewellers Hunt & Roskell. It is monogramed to the front in gold with the letters L.H. and the date 1860 and while we don’t know who L.H. was we can certainly imagine the many glittering occasions that she wore this beautiful necklace to.”

Hunt & Roskell were a renowned jewellers and silversmiths on Bond Street in London who for many years held the Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria. They exhibited at the Great Exhibition held in 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London’s Hyde Park where they were noted for the splendour of their display, reputedly worth a total of £100,000. Further exhibitions followed both at home and abroad including New York in 1853 and Paris in 1867. By the 1860s they were reported to be employing 35 people at the New Bond Street shop and a further 80-100 at their workshop on Harrison Street. As well as their full-time employees, they also worked in collaboration with a large number of additional craftspeople as well as retailing both jewellery and silver from other workshops such as that of Carlo Giuliano and Robert Hennell. The business was sold in 1889 but their reputation for fine luxury jewellery continues to this day and Hancocks is delighted to have this piece of jewellery history to offer to its clients.

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