Posted 5 years ago
A while ago a friend introduced us to the world of fashion documentary movies, starting with "The September Issue", and since then we've consumed all we could find through to the recent release of "Dior and I".
For a jewellery nut one of the big attractions was Anna Wintour's necklaces. Anna is the editor-in-chief of Vogue America, and she's created a signature look wearing antique rivière necklaces.
The name riviere comes from the French for "river", so the meaning is a river of gems that flows around the neck. These are sometimes mistakenly called Riviera necklaces.
These antique necklaces were popular in Georgian and Victorian times. They're also known as "collet set" necklaces when the stones are set in a crimped mount or collet. Back in the day they often came as a "parure", a set of jewellery with a necklace, a detachable pendant, earrings, bracelet(s) and sometimes even a tiara.
They come in a variety of formats, a lot are gilded silver with pastes (glass), the really sought-after ones are gold with real gems like aquamarines, amethysts, pink or golden topazes, etc.
These riviere necklaces remained in fashion through the late 18th to the end of the 19th Century. They briefly came back in the Deco period and then went right out of fashion, and in the mid to late C20th you couldn't give them away.
However today thanks to Anna Wintour they are very much "in vogue" and prices have gone ballistic, check out S J Phillips website, you can pay up to GBP20k for a good one. Scary prices when you realise that to get the "Anna look" you need to layer several of these necklaces together.
After several years of searching I finally scored one at a bargain price, a Victorian necklace of chunky Siberian amethysts set in 9ct rose gold. Only problem is the wife now wants a couple more to complete the look. I've told her she might have to wait a few more years for the next one.