Thursday, November 14, 2013

Garnet Red Jewelry

Jewelry set with garnets became popular in the last part of the 1800s. In shades of red, from pomegranate to dark scarlet, they were cut for faceted point back stones, domed cabochons and beads. Garnets were favored for their dramatic appearance against the skin and for their rich sparkle in the glow of electroliers, the new lighting of the era.

Garnets were mined from Mount Kozakov in Bohemia, a region noted for its network of cottage workshops, with families specializing in different aspects of jewelry production. Bohemian garnet, a relatively soft stone, was faceted with pedal-operated tin wheels in the workshops of stonecutters. Since the coloration is deepest red, faceting a pointed top produced the most reflection and color. Top faceting like simple chatons, checkerboards and rauten cuts were preferred over the traditional point back shape.

To mount garnets, metalsmithing workshops were kept busy in the production of repousee stampings. casting and handmade filigrees. Garnets were set into the plainest one stone earrings to bracelets, collars and tiaras of clustered stones, graduated sizes and complex designs.

After WWI, Bohemia became a region of the newly formed Czecho-Slovakia in 1918. As popular demand for jewelry surged, glassmakers of imitation jewels began producing stones and beads in garnet colored crystal. The enchantment of garnet crystal jewelry has never waned. Sweet Romance offers several pieces reminiscent of garnet and seed pearl jewelry of the early 1900s.  

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