Antique Natural Pearl and Diamond Earrings, circa 1900
Antique natural pearl and diamond earrings in platinum and 18K gold. The center natural pearls are 7.6 mm. to 7.9 mm. They are original to the earrings and natural oriental pearls. These white pearls with a high degree of luster and a clean surface are in fine condition with no discoloration. Natural pearls today are a desirable rarities in today's market. They are surrounded by 28 old cut diamonds in milgrained bezels The total diamond weight is estimated to be .56 cts. These diamonds are all well matched and near colorless (G-H) and very slightly included. These earrings are for a pierced ear and can be converted easily to a non-pierced ear.
These test 18K gold and platinum, but as was the custom at this time, they are unmarked.
Platinum topped gold was a implicit indication of the early use of platinum because silver topped gold was a white on yellow combination a generation earlier was perceived as classic. The jewelers who made these belle époque earrings were unaware of the strength of platinum (which, after all, is stronger than gold). Additionally, since silver would tarnish a white garment, as was used in an earlier time period, gold would prevent such tarnish and thus was another reason it was used as a backing. At first, in the belle epoch time period, jewelers were unsure whether platinum would tarnish, but does not. It took nearly a decade for the jewels of the ensuing Edwardian time period to demonstrate the needless addition of yellow gold under platinum.