Hello and welcome to our May edition of The Hancocks Journal.
As we pack away the bunting and finish up the Coronation quiche, basking in the spring sunshine that has finally arrived here in London, we turn our attention away from the Crown Jewels and back to our own. We may be short on crowns and sceptres but we do have some pretty splendid jewels to share with you this month including one made for the coronation of our new King’s great grandfather in 1911.
Our headline jewel above is a stunning pair of day to night diamond earrings by Kutchinsky c.1950s. The articulated drops detach from the cluster earrings to offer two different looks in one. You can see more of the earrings by clicking on the image and read about the history of the firm that created them here. Below we have two jewels, both made here in London but 140 years apart, our stunning padparadscha sapphire and diamond ring which is fresh out of our workshop and an antique hardstone, pearl and enamel pendant by Carlo Giuliano circa 1883.
This month our maker spotlight falls on Jaeger LeCoultre and the story behind some of the most finely made timepieces in the world whilst our jewel of the month is a very special antique dragonfly brooch that was commissioned from Garrard to wear at the coronation of King George V.
We hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and if you know someone who you think would find it interesting, do please forward it on. As ever, our full jewellery collection is available to view in our Burlington Arcade boutique and on our website whilst our Instagram page is regularly updated, all links are at the end of this newsletter.
Padparadscha Sapphire Ring
Like a perfect rosé wine, this gorgeous padparadscha sapphire is the most beautiful peachy-pink colour. Originating from Ceylon and weighing 4.16ct, it is set between old mine diamonds in hand engraved 18ct rose gold. The name ‘padparadscha’ (pronounced pad-per-add-sha) is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word ‘padmaraga’ referring to the colour of a lotus flower and due to their rarity, these stones are amongst the most expensive in the world. As with blue sapphires, many padparadschas are heated to improve their colour so those that are certified untreated, like this one, are even more rare and desirable.
Hardstone Cameo Pendant
Our new Giuliano jewel was made in around 1883 in his workshop at 115 Piccadilly. The pendant is set with an oval hardstone cameo of Bacchus, depicted with long flowing hair and a wreath of grape vines around his head. The carving is beautifully detailed and cleverly uses the multiple differently coloured layers of the stone to add contrast to the image. Set within a gold frame decorated with red and white enamel, it is surrounded by a fringe of seed pearls and has a glazed locket on the back. The style and decorative feel of the pendant is typical of Giuliano who combined contemporary wearability with a Renaissance aesthetic.
Jewel of the Month
Antique Emerald and Diamond Dragonfly Brooch by Garrard
This fabulous antique dragonfly brooch is a storied jewel fit for a King’s Coronation so it was the obvious choice for our Jewel of the Month for May. The jewel is a magnificent diamond and emerald dragonfly set with two Colombian emerald briolettes weighing approximately 25cts that can be detached to make a pair of earrings. The brooch was commissioned by the 5th Countess of Rosse, Frances Lois Parsons, to wear at the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary on June 22, 1911.
The Countess gave Garrard a pair of Colombian emerald briolette drops to use as part of the commission which had been taken from a pair of earrings belonging to the Rosse family emerald parure. Guy Burton comments: “To have a new jewel commissioned for such an occassion, particularly one of this size and design was unusual and would certainly have made a significant impact. The rich green emeralds no doubt proved a vibrant contrast to the deep red of her coronation robes and complimented the emerald necklace and tiara that Frances wore with it.”
Set throughout with old cut diamonds, the dragonfly’s lower wings are embellished with a single round emerald and the upper wings with the emerald briolettes originally supplied by the countess, the wings are set ‘en tremblant’ so flutter delicately as the wearer moves, allowing the gemstones to catch the light beautifully.
One of the most well regarded names in watchmaking history can trace its story back to 1833 when an entirely self-taught craftsman set up a small workshop in the Swiss village of Le Sentier and began honing his extraordinary skills.
Antoine LeCoultre wasn’t satisfied with the instruments available so he invented his own in order to bring to life the watches he could see in his imagination. One of these was the world’s most precise measuring instrument, called the Millionometer, which was capable of measuring to the micrometre for the first time. Its exceptional precision allowed him to calculate and create the very finest components for his watches.
In 1851 at the inaugural Great Exhibition in London, he sold a watch to Queen Victoria and was awarded a gold medal for his numerous horological inventions and his finely made time pieces. Within 30 years, LeCoultre had created more than 350 different timepiece calibers, and by the end of the century the firm, which by now employed many skilled craftmen in a dedicated manufacturing workshop, was making double complication movements, combining both repeaters and chronographs in single pieces.
Click below to read more of the story.