Hello and welcome to the May edition of The Hancocks Journal.
This month we’re dreaming of the Mediterranean with Greek gold jewels and a deep blue sapphire you could dive right into.
The fabulous 18ct gold bib style necklace above is by Lalaounis who was deeply inspired by the ancient artifacts of his homeland. He noted, “I feel that in all my creations I have been profoundly influenced by Greek art. All my various collections have one common denominator, which is some idea, some design, some technique derived from the art of Greece.”
Our new Kashmir sapphire ring showcases the rich velvety colour of these sought after gems to perfection. These sapphires were discovered in 1881 after a landslide in the Himalayan Mountains of Kashmir revealed the beautiful crystals embedded in the soft, clay-rich earth. They were mined extensively over the next few years, under the control of the Maharaja, during which time many fine and large sapphires were discovered. However by the end of 1888 operations had ceased and since then, despite various attempts, very little of importance has been recovered. Their intense beauty, coupled with their rarity means these wonderful gems are hugely desirable and command some of the highest prices per carat for coloured gemstones in the world.
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.
Vintage Rabbit Brooch
This delightful gold and gem-set rabbit brooch by Kutchinsky was made in 1969. The cartoonish design is finely modelled in textured 18ct yellow gold and the body set with an oval cabochon of black onyx. It has an onyx nose, emerald eyes and comically large front teeth which protrude from a wide smile whilst the long ears are flopped over to one side giving it something if a windswept appearance! Kutchinsky is famous for the animal and bird brooches it created during the 1960s and 70s, from rabbits and dogs to lions and pelicans, all manner of creatures were imagined and made with wit and whimsy. This charming chap is full of personality and would make a definite talking point when pinned to a shoulder or lapel.
Kashmir Sapphire Ring
A sapphire of this exceptional colour could only really have come from one place – Kashmir. Kashmir sapphires are a truly wonderful colour, a soft, deep velvety blue that often seems to be lit from within. This stone is a lovely example and exhibits that desirable tone, hue and saturation of blue that makes these gems so sought after. Weighing 2.53cts it is certified unheated and set simply with an old mine brilliant cut diamond on either side and a diamond set gold band. The ring comes with an additional ring jacket that can be fitted over it to create a showier piece. This takes the form of a frame of old cut diamonds and the three stone ring sits perfectly flush into it so that when worn it looks like one ring.
Jewel of the Month
Beautiful Gold and Diamond Bracelet by Van Cleef &Arpels 1955
In 1954, just a year before this bracelet was made, Van Cleef & Arpels launched a brand new concept, La Boutique, at 22 Place Vendome.
It was aimed at a younger clientele and sold jewels and accessories at a more accessible price point. The boutique sold pieces predominantly designed for day wear and alongside their now iconic range of whimsical animal brooches there were bracelets, necklaces, earrings and brooches typically in yellow gold and set with a wide range of gemstones.
It proved incredibly popular and this bracelet would likely have been amongst the earliest pieces sold. Guy Burton adds: “1950s jewellery is enjoying a real renaissance at the moment with renewed appreciation for the stylish designs and easy wearability of many of the pieces.”
The Italian jeweller Carlo Giuliano (1831-1895) came to London in around 1860 and once settled, he set up a workshop to manufacture jewellery at 13 Frith Street in Soho.
Giuliano was an accomplished craftsman and his early work focused largely on Revivalist designs. Whilst he avoided making exact copies of ancient jewels he was very inspired by archaeological jewellery and the techniques that were used whilst adapting them to suite the tastes and fashions of the period.
Brooches, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and tiaras all received the Giuliano touch and combined contemporary wearability with the Renaissance aesthetic that he found so inspiring. This bracelet for example is wonderfully sculptural and three dimensional in its form with definite nods to antiquity in its decoration.
The Soho premises was without a shop so Giuliano retailed his jewels through a number of established and well respected jewellers such as Robert Phillips, Hunt & Roskell and of course C.F. Hancock.
Click below to read more of his story.