Art & Antiques Weekend - Treasures from the 18th century
On Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30 we are opening the cultural season in the Spiegelkwartier with the annual Art & Antiques Weekend. We are having an exhibition and lecture, themed 'Treasures from the 18th Century'.
Marion van der Fluit, antique jewellery researcher, will talk about various aspects of jewellery in the 18th century, when the difference between every day jewellery and evening jewellery arose as we know it today. The discovery of gold, diamonds and coloured gemstones in Brazil brought immense wealth to the western world, where a passion for big jewels with faceted gemstones developed, of which we will exhibit a few very special examples.
The upperclasses entertained themselves at soirees, where this jewellery glittered beautifully in the candlelight. Ladies wore their hair in updo's and evening gowns had plunging necklines - the perfect outifts for huge earrings and necklaces. Gentlemen wore shoe clasps, buttons and insignas, all lavishly set with gemstones.
The French royal house, where ornate girandole earrings were all the rage, possessed jewellery with historical diamonds. At daytime, jewellery with garnet, cornelian, pearls, topaz and paste were worn. At the end of the 18th century people started wearing sets of matching jewels, so-called parures. Grand parures are sets of jewels with the same motif, set with diamonds combined with rubies, sapphires or emeralds. This trend continued at Napoleon's court and can still be found in the cassettes of various European royal houses.
Very few jewels have survived the test of time. They either stayed in the families, were donated to church, or they were taken apart to be divided in a heritage distribution.