The Hancocks Journal: December

3.26ct D Internally Flawless Golconda Diamond Ring

Welcome to the December, 2022 edition of The Hancocks Journal.

It is icy cold and snowy here in London and we are dreaming of the possibility of a White Christmas. Inspired by this, we have chosen a selection of ‘white’ jewels to share with you this month and we have some wonderful new antique, vintage and contemporary additions to our collection that have arrived recently.

The ring above is one we have made, designed around a beautiful 3.12ct old European diamond. The bombe shaped mount was inspired by an antique ring we owned which also had fine piercing work to the mount. We love the lace like quality of it and how, coupled with the millegrain details, it adds delicacy and lightness to a bold ring.

For more details of this beautiful ring just click here.

We also have a stunning Victorian swallow brooch and a Victorian butterfly that can be worn as a brooch as well as pinned into the hair. During the 19th century, and in particular the mid-late Victorian era, a love of and fascination with the natural world was widespread. Symbolism and meaning was attached to flora and fauna great and small and you can read below what the swallow and butterfly were believed to represent.

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.

From all of us here at Hancocks, we wish you a very

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Diamond Swallow Brooch

Our magnificent late Victorian diamond swallow brooch c.1900, is set throughout with old European brilliant cut diamonds. The swallow was a popular motif in Victorian jewellery because of its romantic connotations. As these birds mate for life and typically return home after migration to the same nesting sites they were seen as symbolic of love, faithfulness and loyalty. They were often given as a gift from a departing loved one to the person left behind as a sign that they would return home safely to them in due course. This is a particularly beautiful example of the genre, notable for both its size, the quality of the craftsmanship and the quantity and quality of the diamonds. A truly stunning and romantic antique jewel.


Moonstone Cameo Pendant

This beautiful Edwardian carved moonstone and diamond pendant dates to around 1905. The finely carved oval moonstone features a cameo of a classical female head and shoulders in profile, set into a platinum bezel setting and surrounded by an ornate foliate frame. The moonstone has a very lovely adularescence, this is the gemmological term for the soft ethereal blue glow that seems to roam across the gem as the piece is turned. It is caused by the scattering of light between the layers of different minerals within the moonstone and has led some cultures to believe it to be made of solidified moonbeams. The pendant is embellished with old cut diamonds which frame the cameo perfectly.

Jewel of the Month

Victorian Diamond Butterfly Hair Ornament/Brooch 1870s

For the Victorians, the butterfly represented the soul. The metamorphism from unassuming caterpillar to beautiful butterfly symbolised the growth of the human soul and the butterflies’ flight was seen as representative of the flight of the soul from the body upon death. Butterflies were widely depicted in jewellery both at rest and in flight, their beautiful form and colours lending themselves perfectly to decorative jewelled items from brooches and hair ornaments to necklaces and earrings.

Guy Burton comments: “This clever convertible jewel can be worn both as a brooch and as a hair jewel making it versatile and more wearable. Whichever way it is worn, the butterfly has been designed to appear as though it has just alighted for a moment before it takes flight again.”

Click the image above to see more photos and full details.

Maker Spotlight


A Superb Platinum and Diamond Line Bracelet by Illario c.1950s

The Italian fine jewellery firm of Carlo Illario e F.lli was founded in 1920 by three brothers – Carlo, Vincenzo and Luigi Illario. They established their manufacturing business in Valenza, an area of northern Italy, south-west of Milan, that is renowned internationally for its fine goldsmiths and quality jewellery.

The brothers gained a reputation for the fineness of their craftsmanship and their development and use of innovative goldsmithing techniques. Their work caught the attention of leading Italian retail jewellers such as Fasano and Faraone but most significantly Bulgari, who recognised the quality of their pieces and began working with the firm. Illario created many pieces for Bulgari during the 1950s, 60s and 70s including their now iconic Serpenti watch bracelets which were worn by many of the world’s most glamorous women including Elizabeth Taylor, whose love of Bulgari is well documented.

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