Edwardian Amethyst and Diamond Ring

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Edwardian amethyst and diamond ring, mounted in platinum.

American, ca. 1915.

$11,500

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

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Tags: amethyst diamond platinum

Mrs. Newman Enamel and Amethyst Floral Pendant

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Gold-mounted enamel and amethyst floral spray pendant. In original case.

By Mrs. Philip Newman.
English, ca. 1910.
Length: 2-1/2 inches.

$12,500
Special price: $9,800

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.
Mrs. Newman Enamel Pendant

Antique Amethyst Chain and Cross

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Antique sixty-three inch long gold chain, set with eighty-seven faceted amethysts  suspending a fancy-cut amethyst cross.

American, ca. 1900.
Length of chain: 63 in.
Length of cross 3 1/2 in.

$32,000

Amethyst Pendant Necklace

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Amethyst, diamond and onyx pendant in platinum, with diamond-set chain.

Circa 1910.
Length of chain: 22 1/2 in.
Length of pendant: 3 1/4 in.

$38,000

Amethyst Pendant Necklace, side

Amethyst Arts and Crafts Sautoir

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Gold and amethyst Arts and Crafts sautoir, with removable bracelet.

American, ca. 1905.
Length: 25 inches
Drop: 3 1/4 inches

$22,000

Amethyst Arts and Crafts Sautoir, bracelet

19th Century Amethyst and Pearl Cross

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Amethyst, pearl, and diamond bishop’s pendant cross.

Probably Russian, 19th century
Length: 7-1/2 inches

$45,000

19th Century Amethyst and Pearl Cross, back

1950s Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet by Boivin

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Large cabochon and carved amethyst necklace and bracelet, with interspersed chrysoprase beads, in 18k gold.

Designed by Juliette Moutard for René Boivin, Paris, ca. 1950.
Necklace: 32 in.
Bracelet: 7 1/4 in.

René Boivin opened his Parisian jewelry house in the 1890s. After his death in 1917, his widow, Jeanne Poiret, the sister of couturier Paul Poiret, took over the firm. In 1931 she hired Juliette Moutard, and the two women had a close working relationship, creating many beautiful pieces together.

necklace view, 1950s Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet by Boivinbracelet, 1950s Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet by Boivinadditional bracelet view, 1950s Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet by Boivin

Arts and Crafts Gold and Amethyst Cross Pendant

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Arts and Crafts double-sided gold, amethyst, and natural pearl cross pendant.

Edward Everett Oakes, American, ca. 1920.
Length: 2 3/4 inches

$17,250

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

back view, Arts and Crafts Gold and Amethyst Cross Pendant

Retro Amethyst and Diamond Cocktail Ring

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Monumental retro cocktail ring boasting a 50 ct (approx.) Siberian amethyst and baguette diamond platinum mount.

American, ca. 1950

$28,000

other view, Retro Amethyst and Diamond Cocktail Ringback, Retro Amethyst and Diamond Cocktail Ring

Georgian Amethyst and Gold Cross Pendant

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Georgian amethyst cross pendant featuring 24 faceted amethysts set in two-color granulated gold mount.

English, early 19th century
Length: 4 1/8 inches (including bail)
(approx. 66 cts)

$11,000

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

Georgian Amethyst and Gold Cross PendantGeorgian Amethyst and Gold Cross Pendant

Victorian Reverse Crystal Box

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Round box with a reverse rock crystal bouquet with mother of pearl backing and amethyst thumbpiece, set in gold.

English, ca. 1890
Height: 3/4 inches
Diameter: 1 inch

$7,800

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

Top view, Victorian Reverse Crystal BoxOpen view, Victorian Reverse Crystal Box

A Thimbleful of History

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collection of thimbles

Antique thimbles are trinkets most often of precious materials, as beautiful as they are functional, imbued with both sentimental and intrinsic value. While they originated as sewing implements, over the centuries their decorative features evolved to complement their new functions as fashionable gifts, status symbols, and tokens of affection.

In the preindustrial era, the significant amount of domestic sewing made thimbles and other sewing implements common household possessions. Over time, they became increasingly valuable. For example, by the sixteenth-century, silver thimbles were listed in wills and other legal documents.

In this period, decorative thimbles became fashionable gifts, a trend believed to be set by Elizabeth I of England (1558-1603) when she gave a gem-set thimble to a lady-in-waiting. For centuries it was customary to include thimbles and other sewing tools in a bride’s trousseau, a tradition that carried into the nineteenth-century. Thimbles given by a lady’s fiancé usually featured inscriptions like ‘A token of regard’ or ‘Forget-me-not.’

Gold and Enamel Thimble

Gold Directoire period French thimble with black and white enamel border.

As thimbles became more valuable, they became more decorative. In the fourteenth-century, French goldsmiths began making decorative thimbles. By the sixteenth-century, thimble decoration became more distinctive, consisting of relief designs, foliate scrolls, and mottoes. The finest thimbles were mostly gold.  Other materials varied by region. Glass thimbles came from Venice and Bohemia and wooden thimbles came from Germany and Austria.

Gold and Turquoise Floral Thimble

English 18k gold thimble with with turquoises, pearls, and gold scrolls set in an elegant floral pattern. Mid-nineteenth-century.

The production of porcelain thimbles began in the eighteenth-century by a number of factories, but thimbles from the Meissen factory remain the most revered and sought after by collectors. Porcelain thimbles share common decorative motifs like flowers, birds, silhouettes, landscapes, fishing or hunting scenes, pastoral scenes, harlequinades, and chinoiseries. Rims are often scalloped or crenellated.

porcelain thimbles

Left: English Bilston Battersea thimble with multi-colored floral sprays on a white ground. 1765.
Middle: Meissen porcelain thimble with early pruncing and a wide border of flowers. Mid-eighteenth-century.
Right: Meissen porcelain thimble with chinoiserie decoration. 1735-40.

Gem-set thimbles featured an array of gemstones like moonstone, amethyst, jade, topaz, sardonyx, coral, onyx, turquoise, carnelian, and moss agate. Some were thought to have apotropaic qualities specifically for protecting eyesite, a fair concern for a seamstress. Moss agates protected the eyes, as well as sardonyx, which offered the added bonus of defending witchcraft. Turquoise thwarted eye disease and poison.

Antique Gold and Turquoise Thimble

English 18k gold thimble set with seven turquoises within a floral scroll decorated border with scalloped edge. Ca. 1840.

Today, thimbles still make excellent gifts and are avidly collected. Also, if one happens to be in search of a protective amulet, by all means, consider a thimble.

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