Everything we love about vintage costume jewelry is featured in this magnificent Hattie Carnegie demi. Red carpet and runway ready, the set exemplifies all that was great about the golden age of costume jewelry. More was not only better, it was, well...more. Bigger than life and far prettier.
Georgiana McCall writes about this Hattie Carnegie set in detail on page 22 of her book "Hattie Carnegie Jewelry" "Her Life and Legacy". She dates this theatrical, striking design to 1950, also disclosing it's respectable hammer price at auction. Costume jewelry has indeed come of age!
Let me begin with the demi's brooch. In rhodium plated white metal, it begins with a rhinestone set triple bow design with center marquise rhinestones, each suspended with large peking glass beads. The brooch is multi sectioned and layered with three major back panels of rhinestone chains that flare out into rigid graduated pear shaped rhinestone fans. Each of the five rhinestone reverse teardrops are suspended with alternating peking (green) glass beads and faux pearls. The top overlay consists of multiple rhinestone chain dangles of varying lengths that culminate with variously sized marquise rhinestones. The marquise tips are suspended with alternating peking glass beads and faux pearls. Arbitrary it's not. Each section and each rhinestone chain, as well as each bead and faux pearl is carefully designed, constructed and arranged to fall into it's place. It is not only overwhelmingly beautiful, it is a technical marvel and a designer's dream. Truly the work of a skilled professional.
The matching dangle clip earrings (what a joy to have these pieces together!) follow the design scheme, albeit simplified, with a single rhinestone bow design at lobe. Center marquise rhinestone is suspended with a green glass bead. Five graduated rhinestone chains dangle culminating with marquise rhinestones that are suspended with alternating peking glass beads and faux pearls, complementing the brooch's, of course.
Kudos to Carnegie for creating the creme de la creme of costume jewelry. With a nod to Hollywood and High Society alike, a diva's demi delight.
The specs: The brooch is a massive approximate 4 1/4 inches long x 3 1/8 inches at it's widest point. The brooch's thickness varies but can bulk out to over one inch. The earrings are about 3 1/8 inches at their longest and 1 1/2 inches at their widest. Weight of this demi is an incredible approximate 130 grams, the brooch requiring a sturdy material for stability. The earrings are, of course, the much lighter part of the set and are quite comfortable to wear.
Condition is another big plus with this demi. It is pristine / excellent vintage. All components intact. All soldering neat and secure with no loose or pulled apart sections. All rhodium plate intact, front and back. All rhinestones intact and brilliant. No dark, cloudy, yellow or dead stones. All faux pearls retain nacre and luster. Peking glass beads free from chips, cracks or breaks. In real life the green beads are more of a jade green color. Beautifully matched in color and sheen. Earring clips and pin back secure. No damage / no repairs. A museum quality showpiece. Study the photos for an up close and personal view. There's nothing to hide.
The reverse of the brooch is signed within an oval cartouche soldered to the center section with "Hattie Carnegie". There is no copyright symbol. Each original earring clip is signed "Carnegie". No copyright symbols.
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