At Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum Arts and Crafts Museum

Aesthetic Jewellery

Aesthetic Jewellery

1

Designed by C R Ashbee and made by the Guild of Handicrafts around 1900.

2

Silver with gold wirework, pearl, garnets, almandines, tourmaline and amethyst. The soft mauves, purples and creamy pearl work well with the silver.

3

The back of this piece has been badly damaged but may have been a brooch, pendant or hair ornament.

4

It is likely that it would have had hanging pendant stones now missing below the amethyst.

5

Peacocks recur in Ashbee's designs and had significance for him as a symbol of the richness of colour and lavish craftsmanship of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Its combination of pride and 'fine feathers' makes it an apt image for jewellery - providing the wearer with beauty by association and a reminder of the sin of pride. There is also evidence, in a note written by Ashbee about a design by D S MacColl of a peacock and a fountain, that he was conscious of its role as a symbol of the Resurrection, and it seems likely that in his single-minded way he was referring to the resurrection of the crafts. This is a fairly modest example in comparison with the more luxurious peacocks made by the Guild. These items of jewellery varied considerably in technique of making, form and colour.

6

Facet-cut stones are traditionally set high within claws so that light can pass through the flat surfaces and create reflections. These stones have unusually been set with a continuous band of metal, called a bezel, which is drawn up and burnished over the edges to secure the stone.

7

It is curious that Ashbee has stipulated facet-cut garnets as he had declared in 1894 that garnets should always be en cabochon, a continuous soft dome shape to the gemstone.

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