Amethyst Riviere Necklace

May 5th, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
Riviere neck 1

175 carat Amethyst Riviere Necklace

Mardon has just acquired an exciting Victorian Amethyst Riviere Necklace. The antique Riviere necklace is a classic style much favored by Anna Wintour, famous editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. Wintour is often seen wearing several antique Riviere necklaces at a time. Movie buffs recognize Ms. Wintour as the inspiration for the title role in “The Devil Wears Prada”, Miranda Priestly played by Meryl Streep.

Anna Wintour & Antique Riviere Necklaces

Anna Wintour & Antique Riviere Necklaces — Photo by Shankbone

This everlasting classic is comprised of gemstones of the same type that graduate smoothly in size. The gems are set in separate collet settings linked by small loops, so that the gems are featured prominently without excessive decoration.

Upper- Garnet collets in gold, Victorian, Lower - Amethyst collets in silver, Georgian

Upper- Garnet collets in gold, Victorian, Lower – Amethyst collets in silver, Georgian

 Collets are challenging to make. A band of metal is fitted tightly around the gem, with the top edge bent onto the stone as in a bezel. Excess metal is filed away at the edge of the gem to leave small prongs holding the stone– difficult to achieve without damaging the stone.

Amethyst and Citrine were most often used– these Quartz gems are relatively abundant so matching suites of large stones were easy to assemble. Rivieres became popular during the Georgian Period, 1714 – 1837, and were all the rage in the late Victorian period, 1880 – 1900.

Our necklace is a true antique, probably made circa 1870 – 1880. The collets test to be ~ 9 – 10 K gold. There is some variation in the collets, so we think this piece is what in known in estate jewelry as a “marriage”. Marriages are accepted in antique jewelry because of their age– our necklace is a true antique, probably made circa 1880, about 140 years old or more.  During the long history of the piece, who knows what transpired– the important thing is whether the integrity of the piece has been retained. Some of the collets could have been made during  the earlier Georgian period, prior to 1837. Here we have similar collets and similar gems, so we’re confident in offering the necklace as correct for the period.

The Amethysts range from 21 carats at the center to just under 4 carats each at the clasp. Some are grading into Ametrine, with both purple and a bit of gold color showing. The total gem weight for this necklace is estimated to be ~ 175 carats.

Because of the popularity of this scarce item, we’ve seen Amethyst Riviere Necklaces with similar sized Amethysts being offered for as much as $20,000. For example, you can go to this link to the S.J Philips of London website, /necklaces-other where several Rivieres are shown. Because we think ours is a marriage, we’re offering this piece at the bargain price of $4750.

Mardon offers the best and most exciting pieces of estate jewelry to be found in the Inland Empire, as well as fine original works, built-from-scratch custom jewelry, and the full services a real jeweler can offer.

Don’t forget to vote in the Annual Press Enterprise Reader’s Choice– we’d love to be your choice as the Best Jeweler in the Inland Empire for the 10th year in a row.

2017 Best of IE



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