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Antique Emerald and Diamond Earrings, Chinese Jewellery

Antique flower stud earrings set with emeralds and diamonds in 20k. These are Chinese earrings from the earlier part of the 20th century, a luxuriant part of our Straits Chinese Peranakan jewellery. The emeralds are natural and differ in vividness, but their overall lustre is good. The old cut diamonds are about 0.65ctw and of excellent VS/F-G quality. To come across a fine pair of early ‘modern’ earrings – that shows obvious East-West influences – is not often at all. The Straits Chinese preference for pierced earrings (outside youthful studs) are usually quite big, here each flower is 22mm wide, more than visible! It is also this distinct size preference, that is unusually big but still somehow preserving its delicate beauty, that makes it Chinese. The part that is less so, is the complete lack of chasing or etching, and that is telling of its Western influence. The flowers showcase the finery of open work in the gold, with the emeralds sparsely applied around each centre diamond. Note the way the centre diamond is held high, subtly. The art in this pair of earrings is superb – raising the diamond allows the rest of the petals and emeralds to drape fluidly. Solid but freeform, the petals fold over and you can discern its naturalistic form especially once worn on the earlobes. Afloat between the Western cocktail earring and Asian ‘celebratory’ jewellery, this could be why our modern eyes have come to imagine a pair of earrings as such in ‘chinoiserie’ terms. Such designs in our history are personal in that they become ‘timepieces’, specifically, the part when old Chinese jewellery begins to desire glamour. Likely crafted before the ’30s. The last photo shows a unique hallmark (uncommon in antique Chinese fine jewellery hence the luxury in this piece), but mostly, the photo reveals just how vivid the emeralds’ green really is even in very low light.

Details on GemGardener.com

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