Jewelers Ingenuity or Camouflage?

April 24th, 2012 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

In the course of buying estate jewelry, we run across some very interesting and unusual pieces- witness this necklace that appears to be a rather ordinary Star 0f David, embellished with center round brilliant diamond and single cut diamonds on the points. We didn’t notice the mechanism when we bought the piece but later discovered that the Star opens up to make a simple diamond necklace. Not the greatest design, but definitely not a star.

We know from the information provided by our seller that the piece came from Europe sometime in the early to mid 20th century. The question we have is whether the jeweler who made the Star was just having fun making something for extra utility, a piece that could be worn in different ways or did he have a more serious purpose? Given the persecution of the Jews in Europe during the Holocaust, was his design an ingenious way to preserve a bit of wealth for a Jewish client on the run. Was it a way for the owner to signal his true identity in those dangerous times? We’ll never know, but history certainly gives us some puzzles to contemplate seriously.

If any reader has information about similar designs and their history, we would welcome their comments.

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