Dating to ca. 1790-1800, this is easily the MOST impressive example of Georgian paste that I have offered on Ruby Lane this year, and I have never seen anything quite like it!
This majestic magnifier measures 7 1/2" long, and 3" wide! Even more miraculous, it has survived over two centuries win ALL-ORIGINAL condition! This objet d'art falls into the category of "functional jewel," as its obvious purpose is to magnify; the bevel-edged, hand-ground lens give a very high level of magnification. But just look at this frame!
Completely encrusted with literally hundreds of round white pastes, this magnifier packs a TON of sparkle! All of the pastes are set in foiled, closed-backed, pushed-up collets of Britannia ware (unmarked but tested). "Britannia ware" was invented in the 1760s as a silver substitute, and most pieces are unmarked. The round pastes all sport the "black spot' at the culet which is the hallmark of Georgian-era paste.
The inner frame of the lens tests to silver, and is engraved with a hatchwork pattern. The reverse of the piece shows that the lens can be taken out (there are two sturdy pins holding it in), should you wish to use this masterpiece as a portrait frame, but I would advise leaving it in its all-original condition. There is also a jump loop on the reverse, so the lens can be worn on a chain, or hung on a wall when not in use. (Talk about the ULTIMATE paste pendant!)
This museum-quality jewel would have likely been used by a very wealthy elderly lady to read correspondence and the latest news; it works excellently today, and has survived without damage to the lens, mounting, or pastes. The design is very Rococo, but with the slight Neoclassical restraint seen in pieces dating to the last quarter of the 18th century. ALL of the pastes are intact and present, with no visible replacements!
This magnifier weighs 127 grams (4.4 ounces), and is nothing if not rare and beautiful! I would not shy from wearing this as a statement piece around the neck, but it looks just as beautiful hung on the wall! Origin is English, and given the workmanship, I am surprised to see that this is not a signed piece.
One thing is for certain - this is a one-of-a-kind piece the likes of which I have NEVER seen in my 15+ years as a collector, dealer, scholar and lecturer in Georgian era jewelry and vanity items. I do not throw the term "museum-quality" around loosely, but this term genuinely applies here!
If you collect the ULTIMATE in Georgian-era paste jewels or vanity items, this magnifier will make an investment-quality addition to your collection. I assure you that if you see another like it of this period, I will buy it back! Do not miss this rare opportunity to acquire this magnificent piece; USPS Priority shipping on this item is FREE!
LAYAWAY IS AVAILABLE ON THIS ITEM! Terms are as follows: 30% down, with 3 months to pay the balance. If you are interested in layaway, please do not be shy; just ask!
Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.
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