The Hancocks Journal: August

Hello and welcome to our August edition of The Hancocks Journal.

This month we’ve got jewels from French, American and Sicilian designer-makers. Textured gold and stunning diamonds feature but first we have a piece set with a rare and rather clever gem.

The ring above was made in the 1930s by the American jewellers J.E. Caldwell & Co and it is set with a superb 5.40ct alexandrite. Alexandrite is a member of the Chrysoberyl family of gemstones and is known for its fascinating ability to change colour depending on the light it is viewed in. It was first discovered in 1834 in the Ural Mountains of Russia when it was initially mistaken for emerald as it had been found very close to an emerald mine. However further detailed examination of the gemstone, and the discovery of its extraordinary ability to change colour from green in daylight to red in candlelight resulted in it being declared a new and exciting variety of gem altogether.

It is said that the first Alexandrite was discovered on the very day that the young heir to the Russian throne, Tsar Alexander II, turned 16 and came of age. It was therefore only fitting that this new gemstone be named in his honour. Not only was Alexandrite discovered on this auspicious day, but the colours of the gemstone mirrored the colours of Imperial Russia and it wasn’t long before it was heralded as the official gemstone of the Tsars. To see the ring change colour head to our website, just click here.

We hope you enjoy this selection of recent acquisitions and Hancocks jewels. As ever, our full collection is available to view in our Burlington Arcade boutique and on our website and our Instagram page is updated daily, all links are at the end of this newsletter.


Diamond ‘Regatta’ Necklace

Few jewellers of the 20th Century could be seen as embodying the vibrant and glamorous lifestyle of the jet-set in the way that Fulco di Verdura did. His jewellery was never produced on a large scale, most pieces were commissions for specific clients and he readily embraced the notion of bespoke design. This stylish Regatta necklace was designed by Fulco in the 1960s. Throughout his career as a designer, he found inspiration in the natural world, particularly the seaside where he spent carefree summers growing up in Sicily, and these references appear regularly in his jewels. Pearls, shells and rope-like textures and motifs are all evidenced in his work.


Old European Cut Diamond Ring

Over a hundred years old but still as beautiful as the day it was made, this absolutely stunning antique diamond and platinum solitaire ring dates from circa 1915. The old European brilliant cut weighs 9.02cts and has lovely proportions with the characteristic features of a deep crown, small table facet and open culet. These combine to create a greater amount of spectral colour-flashes (known as fire) from inside the stone than we typically see in modern cut diamonds. Just one of the reasons we love old cut diamonds so much. This one has been set in platinum with a delicate and detailed pierced gallery of foliate motifs which are continued in the raised diamond shoulders.

Jewel of the Month

Burmese Red Spinel and Diamond Ring by Hancocks

For August’s Jewel of the Month, we have chosen a beautiful spinel and diamond ring. Spinel is one of the birthstones for August and we are great fans of this somewhat underappreciated gem. Spinel occurs in a range of colours, from various shades of blue through purples and pinks to hot vivid reds like this one.

Red spinel, like other red gems, was traditionally believed to help calm anger and promote harmony. It was used as a remedy for blood loss and inflammatory diseases and was also thought to inspire love and passion. Our Director Guy Burton comments: “We can’t promise any of these benefits to the person who buys our ring, but it is certainly a fiery jewel that they’d be sure to love passionately every time they wore it!”

Maker Spotlight


22ct Gold Nugget and Chain Link Necklace c. 1970s

Jean Mahie jewellery is the result of a wonderfully symbiotic and fruitful partnership between Jacline Mazard and her father-in-law Jean-Marie Mazard.

They first began combining their artistic talents in 1969, working from a studio in Mouans-Sartoux in the South of France, and launched their jewellery line the following year. Neither was formally trained and both preferred to work with 22ct gold. Their bold, imaginative, exotic pieces in richly hued yellow gold fitted perfectly with the bohemian fashions of the late 60s and early 1970s. Two of the biggest Place Vendôme jewellers recognised their talent early on and it wasn’t long before they both came a knocking.

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