Cultured Pearl Jabot-Pin & Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet, Princess Margaret's Jewelry Collection

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Pearl jewelry among Princess Margaret's collection of Jewels

Among Princess Margaret's collection of jewelry and Faberge, consisting of around 200 pieces, that went under the hammer on June 13, 2006, at a Christie's auction in London, there were at least 25 pieces incorporating pearls, both natural and cultured. Out of these, 15 pieces contained cultured pearls. This webpage is dedicated to two of these pieces containing cultured pearls :-

1) Lot 16 - A Cultured Pearl Jabot-Pin

2) Lot18 - A Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet

1) A Cultured Pearl Jabot Pin - Lot 16

What is a jabot-pin ?

"Jabot" (pronounced zhah-Bow) in French means "ruffle," an ornamental cloth frill, formerly worn by men in front of a shirt or by women in front of a blouse, in the chest region. A "jabot-pin" originally served a dual purpose, of securing the jabot on to the shirt or blouse, and serving as an ornament like a brooch. Thus, the "jabot-pin" performs the function of a tie-pin as well as a brooch. It can be described as a type of brooch, with a central pin, that joins two ornamental terminals, one at each end of the stem. One of the terminals can be removed, enabling the pointed end of the pin to pass through the fabric for attachment. The pointed end of the stem that passes under the fabric, is again brought up above the fabric, after a short distance determined by the length of the pin, and the terminal again attached. Thus, when the jabot-pin is worn, the pin stem is hidden, and the two terminals appear separated by fabric. Another name for a "jabot-pin" is "cliquet-pin."

 

Some of the common designs used for the terminals of a jabot-pin

Designs used for the terminals of a jabot-pin are unlimited, depending on the creative imagination of the jewelry designer. Usually the theme used for the two terminals are related to one another.

Eg.1 - While one terminal represents the head of an arrow, the other terminal  represents its tail.

Edwardian Diamond Arrow Jabot Pin

Edwardian Diamond Arrow Jabot Pin

©  Pastera

Eg.2 - Hunting designs :- While one terminal represents a fox on the run, the other terminal  represents a huntsman upon a galloping horse, pursuing the fox.

Fox Hunting Diamond Enameled Jabot Pin

Fox Hunting Diamond Enameled Jabot Pin

©Georgian Jewelry.COM

Purchase the item above

Eg.3 - One terminal represents an animal or bird being hunted and the other end a hunting dog giving chase.

Photo External Link

Eg.4 - Geometric designs :- One terminal can represent a larger circle or square set with gemstones, and the other, a smaller circle or square set with similar gemstones.

A French Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Jabot Pin by Cartier

A French Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Jabot Pin by Cartier

© Christie's


Art Deco Jadeite and Diamond Jabot Pin

Art Deco Jadeite and Diamond Jabot Pin

© Christie's

Eg.5 - Victorian Sword motif - One terminal representing the pointed end of a sword, and the other its gem-set handle.

Eg.6 - Nail motif - One terminal representing the head of the nail and the other its pointed end.

A 19th Century Diamond Nail Jabot Pin

A 19th Century Diamond Nail Jabot Pin

© Christie's

Eg.7 - Sporting motif - Golf Club motif - While one terminal represents the straight handle of the golf club, the other terminal represents the curved base of the club.

Golf Club Platinum, Diamond and Onyx Jabot Pin

Golf Club Platinum, Diamond and Onyx Jabot Pin

©  A La Vieille Russie


 

Cultured Pearl Butterfly Jabot-Pin

Cultured Pearl Butterfly Jabot-Pin

© Christie's

Features of the butterfly jabot-pin

Princess Margaret's Cultured Pearl Jabot Pin is designed as a stylized butterfly, but unlike other jabot pins the design of the two terminals do not match. While one terminal represents the stylized butterfly, the other terminal is bell-shaped. A single cultured pearl set in the middle of the butterfly represents its body. The pin is 6.4 cm long, and the two terminals are connected by a long safety chain. The metal used on the pin is not known. The single spherical white cultured pearl, may be an Akoya or South Sea Pearl.

 

The jabot-pin registers a price 100 times higher than the pre-sale estimate, at the Christie's London sale of Princess Margaret's jewels

The cultured pearl, butterfly jabot-pin were among the modest items in Princess Margaret's extraordinary jewelry collection, that came up for sale at the Chistie's London auctions held on June 13, 2006. The pre-sale estimate of this humble piece of jewelry was placed at a value as low as £60. The item was Lot No.16 at the sale. It had no historical or material value. But, the unprecedented demand for items in the jewelry collection, with bidders vying with each other, to own a piece used and cherished by a Princess, whom they loved, adored and respected, did not exclude this humble item of jewelry. After a keenly contested bidding, even this simple piece of jewelry, fetched an enhanced price of £6,000, one hundred times higher than the pre-sale estimate of  Â£60. The enhanced price realized was clearly attributed to the popularity of the Princess, and the love and respect with which she was held, by the people, a factor that was referred to as the "princess' premium." In this instance, provenance had a much greater value than the actual material value of the item. £60 is the actual material value of the jabot-pin, the balance  Â£5,940 is the value of the provenance, by which the price was enhanced.     

 

2) A Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet - Lot 18

Both corals and pearls are organic gemstones derived from living organisms, corals from Anthozoan polyps and pearls from Bivalve Mollusks.

The Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet in Princess Margaret's collection, is a unique piece of jewelry, as it is composed of gemstones both of which are organic in origin; corals developing from colonies of Anthozoan polyps, belonging to Phylum Cnidaria, living in shallow and fairly deep ocean waters; and pearls developing from saltwater oysters, belonging to bivalve Mollusca, also living in shallow to deep ocean waters. Corals are actually colonies of thousands of individual polyps, and can take different morphological forms depending on the species. The Bamboo Coral for eg. grows and branches like a tree at the bottom of the sea, fixed to a solid substrate. Bivalve Mollusks on the other hand are single individuals, but usually live together in gregarious communities, in oyster beds, sometimes attached to the solid substrate by byssal threads. On an evolutionary scale, though both Phyla are invertebrates, Phylum Cnidaria are at a very low level of evolution than the more advanced Phylum Mollusca, which has developed organ systems, such as a digestive, respiratory, circulatory, excretory, nervous, and reproductive systems. Among the Phylum Mollusca, the Cephalopods, like Squids and Octopus have  well developed nervous systems, reaching the height of complexity in Octopus, believed to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. They also have complex eyes with specialized polarization vision, that enables to locate and capture transparent prey in the surrounding water.

 

Corals and Pearls are made of identical chemical substances, calcium carbonate and conchiolin

However, the interesting fact about corals and pearls, are that both of them are made of almost identical materials. While pearls are composed of calcium carbonate in the form of aragonite and calcite and a protein component known as conchiolin, corals can be of two types, Calcareous Corals and Conchiolin Corals. In calcareous corals, calcium carbonate in the form of calcite predominates over the protein component, conchiolin. In conchiolin corals, the protein component conchiolin predominates over the calcium carbonate component calcite or aragonite. Thus, calcareous corals are harder and more suitable for jewelry, than conchiolin corals. The most commonly used coral species for jewelry Corallium rubrum (red coral found in the Mediterranean) and Corallium japonicum (red coral found in the Sea of Japan), are both calcareous corals, and also referred to as precious corals.

 

Features of the bracelet

The bracelet, which is 19.4 cm long, consists of four strands. The strands are made up of red coral beads and white cultured pearls. Since their are more coral beads than pearls in each strand, the strands are actually considered as coral bead strands, with cultured pearls being considered as spacers, placed at regular intervals. A cultured pearl spacer is placed after every three corals, and each strand begins with a cultured pearl and ends with a cultured pearl. In each strand there are 18 red coral beads and 7 white spherical cultured pearls. Thus altogether, there are 72 red coral beads and 28 white cultured pearls on all the four strands. Besides there is a row of three additional pearls at each end of the bracelet, and a single cultured pearl on the openwork clasp, making a total of 35 spherical white cultured pearls.

As cultured pearls are placed at regular intervals, and coral beads and cultured pearls have a uniform diameter, in the bracelet, the cultured pearls in different strands come to lie one above the other, almost in a vertical straight line. Even the red coral beads in different stands, are aligned with one another in approximately vertical straight lines. The cultured pearls are white, spherical pearls, with uniform diameter, and appear to be Akoya pearls.

The openwork clasp at one end of the bracelet, is set with a single large white spherical cultured pearl in the center, slightly bigger in diameter than all other spherical pearls on the bracelet. Other areas of the openwork clasp are set with tiny seed pearls.

 

Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet

Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet

© Christie's

Red corals used in the bracelet originated from either Corallium rubrum or Corallium japonicum

The best red corals are obtained either from the Mediterranean red coral species Corallium rubrum or the red coral species from the Sea of Japan, Corallium japonicum, both of which are calcareous corals. Going by the uniformity of the red color in the coral beads of the bracelet, and the fact that the intensity of the red color had been maintained for quite a long period, one can assume safely, that the red coral beads in the bracelet originated from none other than the well known red coral species, Corallium rubrum, found mainly in the Mediterranean Sea or Corallium japonicum, found in the Sea of Japan.

Precious Coral or Red Coral (Corallium rubrum )

Precious Coral or Red Coral (Corallium rubrum )

Photo above, Creative commons


Red and Pink Coral used to make Jewelry

Red and Pink Coral used to make Jewelry.

The depletion of red corals by overexploitation has led to the use of cheaper and more readily available substitutes such as sponge corals and bamboo corals

Corals grow at depths of 8 meters (25 feet) to about  300 meters (1,000 feet). However, corals growing in deeper waters are of better color and quality. Coral species of the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Japan, are seriously depleted, due to overexploitation as a result of the greater demand for them in the jewelry industry. Therefore, jewelers have now resorted to cheaper and more readily available alternatives, such as bamboo coral (Keratoisis profunda) and sponge coral (Eunicella verrucosa). However both types of corals have to be dyed and processed to give the same attractive look as red corals. Sponge corals, being very porous are first stabilized by impregnating with resins or epoxies, and then dyed to enhance the red color. It is then cut and polished usually as a cabochon or converted into a bead by drilling. Bamboo coral, which is smoother than sponge coral, is usually white in color, and are dyed red before processing. Both substitutes have their disadvantages such as brown swirls appearing in sponge corals, originating from naturally occurring brown patches and non-uniformity in red color and appearance of naturally occurring black spots in bamboo corals. The use of sponge and bamboo corals in jewelry is accepted, provided their use is revealed to the customer.

Dyed and Polished Fragments of Bamboo Coral

Dyed and Polished Fragments of Bamboo Coral

Photo above, Creative commons


Dyed and Polished Sponge Coral Beads

Dyed and Polished Sponge Coral Beads

Photo above, Creative commons


White Bamboo corals and Yellow Crinoids growing on rocks at the bottom of the sea in the Gulf of Alaska.

White Bamboo corals and Yellow Crinoids growing on rocks at the bottom of the sea in the Gulf of Alaska.


Large Branching Bamboo Corals

Large Branching Bamboo Corals

The variety of colors in which corals exist, and the tropical warm conditions in which they survive

Apart from the much desired shades of red color, corals also exist in a variety of other colors, such as white, black, blue, lavender, orange and pink. Black corals, also much sought after like red corals, were found off the coast of Mexico, but are now depleted due to overexploitation. Hawaiian black corals also used in ornamentation, is not mineralized and belong to the conchiolin corals. Corals are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions, such as temperature of the water, and the amount of sunlight that reaches the coral deposits. They usually thrive in warm waters, hence their existence is restricted only to the tropical seas, such as the Mediterranean Sea, the tropical waters of the Atlantic, including the Caribbean, the tropical waters of the Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

 

Harvesting and processing of corals, into cabochon-cut gemstones, or beads

Corals are harvested manually by divers, who collect them from the sea bed. After the corals are brought to the surface, they are examined carefully, and sorted according to quality. Pieces of corals without any flaws, such as cracks and fissures are the most sought after and expensive. Lesser quality corals can also be used in jewelry, after special treatment to cover the flaws. Corals are stabilized by impregnating with resins and epoxies. They are then, either bleached to create white coral or dyed to impart or enhance the color of the specimen. It is then cut and polished. The polishing of corals transforms them from a natural matte-like appearance to a glossy finish. Corals being opaque or translucent gemstones, are generally cut en cabochon with a convex surface. They may also be cut and polished and drilled into beads, for stringing, to produce necklaces or bracelets, either singly or in combination with other gemstones, such as pearls, turquoise etc.

 

Coral substitutes

The great demand for red coral jewelry, coupled with their scarce availability, have not only given rise to cheaper alternatives, such as bamboo coral and sponge coral, but also to cheaper substitutes, made out of glass, porcelain, plastic and dyed bone. Thus it is important that one should be able to distinguish between the original red coral and their cheaper substitutes. One way of doing this is to look for the unique wood grain structure in corals, which is absent on the fakes.

 

The earliest uses of pearls and corals by ancient man

Corals and pearls, both gems of organic origin are among the first gemstones used in ornamentation by man. Pearls when discovered from the oysters are already in a finished form, with their natural luster, brilliance and orient, and needs minimum intervention by man, before being used as ornaments. Mother-of-pearls were more often used in ornamentation than pearls, because of their ready availability than pearls, which were very scarce. One of the earliest uses of pearls discovered by archaeologists, comes from the Persian Gulf region, the most ancient source of pearls in the world, where almost 6,000 years ago people were buried with a pierced pearl in their right hand. Mesopotamian civilization (3,000-2,000 B.C.) over 5,000 years ago appear to be the first civilization in which the beauty and value of pearls were first appreciated. Likewise even coral jewelry has been found in prehistoric European burial sites, as well as ancient Egyptian (3,000 to 1,000 B.C.) burial sites.

 

Mystical and supernatural powers associated with corals

Since very ancient times mystical and supernatural powers were associated with corals, particularly red corals found in the Mediterranean Sea. The Gauls used red corals for ornamentation of their person and the weapons of war and helmets, believing in their mystical powers to protect them from injury. The Romans strung together pieces of red corals to form necklaces, that were hung around their children's necks, to ward off danger and disease. From ancient times up to the medieval  period, and in some countries even up to the contemporary period, people believed in the potency of corals as charms, to bring good luck and protect from misfortune, to prevent and cure diseases, to increase fertility and life expectancy and to save a person from the harm caused by snake and scorpion bites. Corals were also worn as a protective amulet against magic and charms of enemies., and in Italy early in the 20th-century as a preservative from the evil eye, and by females as a cure for sterility.

 

Rivalry among European nations for control of the coral resources of the African coast of the Mediterranean

The demand for corals in Europe was so great, that control of the coral fisheries of the African coast of the Mediterranean became a cause for increased rivalry and wars between European nations, such as Italy,  Spain, France and Britain. The fisheries came under the control of these nations in turn, starting from the middle ages, up to the 20th century. Prior to the French revolution, the coral trade, procuring and processing of corals, and manufacture of coral jewelry was mainly centered around Marseilles in France. After the French revolution, the center of the coral trade and industry shifted to the Italian cities of Naples, Rome and Genoa. The continuous exploitation of the coral resources of the Mediterranean for several centuries, led to the depletion of resources, from which the coral beds have not yet fully recovered.

 

Sale of the Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet - Lot 18

Princess Margaret's Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet was Lot No. 18, at the Christie's Historic London Sale, of the Princess' jewelry collection, held on June 13, 2006. The pre-sale estimate placed on this piece of jewelry was a modest £300 to £400, but in keeping with enhanced trend shown at this auction, with prices of some items surging over 100 fold, the price realized for this piece was £14,400 ($26,496), 36 times the upper estimate. Again provenance was the major component of the final selling price of this modest piece of jewelry.

 

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)

 

Related :-

1) Cultured Pearl Necklace and Earclips from Princess Margaret's collection

2) Princess Margaret's Five Row Art Deco Pearl And Diamond Necklace

 

External Links :- 

1) Christie's Sale 7335 - Sale Catalogue, Lot No.16 - A Coral And Cultured Pearl Bracelet. www.christies.com/lotfinder

2) Christie's Sale 7335 - Sale Catalogue, Lot No.16 - A Coral and Cultured Pearl Bracelet http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_

details.aspx?pos=8&intObjectID=4718006&sid=

 

References :-

1) Christie's Sale 7335 - Sale Catalogue, Lot No.18 - A Coral And Cultured Pearl Bracelet. www.christies.com/lotfinder

2) Christie's Sale 7335 - Sale Catalogue, Lot No.16 - A Cultured Pearl Jabot Pin. www.christies.com/lotfinder

3) Coral Jewelry - www.turquoisejewelry.com

4) The Beauty of Coral Jewelry - www.buzzle.com

5) Precious coral - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

6) A French Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Jabot Pin -  Christie's London sale 5385, December 9, 2008. www.christies.com

7) Golf Club Platinum, Diamond and Onyx Jabot Pin - A La Vieille Russie. www.alvr.com

8) Edwardian Diamond Arrow Jabot Pin - Past Era Fine Antique & Estate Jewelry. www,pastera.com

9) A Edwardian Hunting Jabot Pin - www.liveauctioneers.com

10) An Art Deco Jadeite And Diamond Jabot Pin - Lot No.128 - Christie's Magnificent Jewels Sale, No.1304, Geneva. www.christies.com

11) A Late 19th Century Diamond Jabot Pin - Christie's London Sale 5893, Jewels at South Kensington. www.christiesinternational.com

12) Sporting Jewelry Extraordinaire - Diamond Enamel Jabot Pin - The Three Graces, An Investment for a Lifetime. www.georgianjewelry.com

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)

 

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