A Pendant With Diamonds Set In Silver Over Gold
This pendant in the shape of a Maltese cross is offered for sale by A La Vieille Russie, and interested purchasers can contact the company directly and request further detail. Diamonds are set in the openwork, a larger stone in the centre and four similarly large diamonds at the compass points. It’s English c.1850, and 2-1/4 inches wide.
We can see that the silver metal around the diamonds is blackened and oxidised – silver oxidises easily and this type of setting does create some aggravation for the wearer. The black smudges on clothing or comes off on the skin. However, at the time, it was desirable for diamonds to be set in metal that would enhance the icy white colour of the diamonds, rather than allowing the yellow gold colour to shine through the gems.
As a result of new technological advances that enabled the strength of platinum to be exploited for thin, lightweight jewelry, silver over gold was no longer necessary, and platinum took its place.
Information on the pendant and images courtesy A La Vieille Russie.