• Many cathedrals that had fallen into disrepair during the Baroque and the French Revolution were restored

  • A photograph, dated 1883, shows Princess Charlotte of Prussia

  • The Wièse bracelet from the collecton Dekker Antiquairs.

  • A bracelet in gold, silver and aluminum by Jules Wièse in the original box

Being an Antiquarian jeweller is a very fascinating profession

The bracelet is made in the Neo - Gothic style, one of the many eclectic historical styles which dominated  the 19th century. Decorative elements from the Gothic period, in particular the windows of  churches and  associated architecture were a great source of inspiration for jewellery. The graceful lines of the window traces, three- and four passes, concave and convex curved triangles were perfect design motifs to be rendered in gold jewellery. The bracelet with three finely crafted Neo Gothic links was ordered in 1878 from Wièse for the marriage of the 17-year-old Princess Charlotte of Prussia by Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Meiningen. She was the daughter of the German Emperor Frederick III and his wife Victoria, sister of the future Emperor Wilhelm II and a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria. The brief ceremony took place on February 18 in the Imperial Castle of Berlin, at 6 o'clock in the evening. It was a simultaneous marriage, Princess Elisabeth Anna and Prince Frederick August of Oldenburg were also wed at the same time. The double wedding was a great spectacle and the first since the creation of the German Empire in 1871.

In France the Gothic Revival  rose to  significance  due to the  restoration work of the architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879). Many cathedrals that had fallen into disrepair during the Baroque and the French Revolution were restored under his leadership. Viollet-le-Duc also restored the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the cathedrals in Amiens, Chartres, Reims, Sens and Toulouse. Such large projects were described in detail in the printed press at the time. Because of that, there was great interest in the late Middle Ages and in 1820  the book "Ivanhoe" was published by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott. It marked the beginning of a new genre, the historical novel, a fictional story in a historically correct context. Knights and Ladies inspired the Romantic ideal of the Victorian era.

On May 12, 1842 the Plantagenet ball took place at Buckingham Palace, attended  by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who were dressed as Philippa of Hainault and King Edward III of England. Fancy dress balls with a historical theme were very popular throughout the 19th century at all European courts. The influences of historical clothing also found their way into everyday fashionable dress and it was not unusual to wear specially crafted jewellery for such events. Complete parures were disassembled by the leading jewellery houses to serve as decoration elements for the intended historical costume. Many ladies and gentlemen had themselves portrayed in paintings or photographs to show their rich attire for posterity. A photograph, dated 1883, shows Princess Charlotte of Prussia

Jules Wièse was born in Berlin in 1818 and after his training at the German court goldsmith Johann Georg Hossaeur he left for Paris at the age of 16. There he commenced working for  Jean-Valentin Morel, a silver and goldsmith who was known for the high quality of his work. In 1839 he joined the leading jeweller François-Désiré Froment-Meurice. After working himself up to become the  head of the workshop  he set up his own studio at 7 Rue Jean-Pain-Mollet in 1845; although he continued to make orders for  his former employer Froment-Meurice. In 1848 Jules Wièse received a collaboration medal at the 11th French Industrial Exhibition. His former employer Froment-Meurice died on February 17, 1855. It was at the Paris World Exposition that year (held from May to November) that Jules Wièse showed work under his own name for the first time. For this he received two 1st class medals, for his goldsmith work and his jewellery.

The Wièse bracelet from the collecton Dekker Antiquairs.

A bracelet in gold, silver and aluminum by Jules Wièse in the original box: Froment-Meurice, 372 rue St. Honoré.  The bracelet itself is marked Jules Wièse. Jules Wièse jewels are to be found in major museum collections around the world such as the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, London British Museum and Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris

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