Designed as a running lizard, the body pavé-set with circular-cut demantoid garnets, embellished along its back with a line of circular-cut diamonds, each eye set with a circular-cut ruby, American circa 1910, mounted in yellow gold, Length 10cm
Note: The name demantoid, means diamond-like, in reference to their “fire” which is due to their high refractive index and light dispersing qualities, which actually outrank those of diamonds. They were discovered by accident in the Ural Mountains of Russia around 1853 and officially identified as a new form of andradite garnet by a visiting Finnish mineralogist in 1864. The addition of chromium being the cause of their colour. The stone became highly prized and priced, as Fabergé’s use of it in important jewels and objects alike elevated its profile and it soon became an essential ingredient in high jewellery collections from the late 19th century to around 1920. Production halted with the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and subsequent warfare of the 20th Century, but these original Russian deposits remain the benchmark for quality, the very best and iconic being a vibrant yellowish-green colour (this brooch being the perfect example) but also a slightly bluer-green more associated with fine emeralds. Lesser ones can also be more yellow and also brown in the tone of their green. Whilst new deposits have popped up around the world (Namibia, Iran, Madagascar), none rival the colour and size of those found in the Ural region, which has once again begun to be mined in the last 20 years. Having been made in the USA, this brooch is a testament to the far-reach of the stone’s appeal and is as important today as it was then in terms of the collection of stones used. Lizards and insects have been an inspiration in jewellery since antiquity, and in many cultures, with each period adding its touch. The slinking lizard is a well known one from the period, however this is the largest one we have ever seen.