Rare Arts and Crafts jewel, a study of almandine garnets and seed pearls, possibly Sibyl Dunlop 1920s


A riot of pinks and reds- a profusion of shimmering garnets and a quality, hand crafted piece of magic! c1920

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This really is a most spectacular jewel. It is handcrafted c1920s by an Arts and Crafts’ jeweller (most likely fit is Sibyl Dunlop-please read on for further details) and is a shimmering show of the pinks to reds in dozens of almandine garnets, some foiled and some not. It is an oppulent piece of work, in which the jeweller’s skills have been notably showcased. Clearly has elements of both the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as certain design motifs from the Austro-Hungarian era. The numbers 12 and 24 are used a lot in the use of the stones. There is such significance in the number 12 repeating (a reference to the constant love of 12 months in the year perhaps). This is a large, heavy, statement piece which exudes love and romance.

The whole piece sings out loudly, in such a jubilant way, that it is difficult not to smile when you see this beautiful thing. The huge, domed red garnet set at the centre, has been set in a large tooth setting, also employed by the Artificers’ Guild (who were my other front runner). The rope work detailing is set at the base of the setting and then we see that the jeweller has strung no less than 24 natural, creamy seed pearls onto a silver wire to wrap around the design. You can actually see the tie in the silver at the top where it was fastened. A halo of 12 faceted garnets shimmer in a halo around the pearls. Each is interspersed with a small silver ball, which was another typical Sibyl feature between stones.

A further halo of 12 large, foiled garnets en cabochon and they cover many shades from the pink and red spectrums. They show different colours and play with the light even with the smallest of movements. Each cabochon is set in a fluted silver setting, reminiscent of a flower. Instead of a silver ball between each, this time we have 12 creamy natural seed pearls, set with their own silver stalk setting, which gives the effect of them being rather like berries.

The large hinged A&C bale looks original to the piece and how super is that, to have fittings to use her as both a brooch and a pendant. Condition is very pleasing, one teeny tiny nibble from one of the smaller garnets…only visible under close inspection with a jeweller’s loupe. Two of the smaller garnets have been pushed into their settings somewhat but are not in danger of coming out. I would leave them as you can’t tell easily. That’s it- in excellent order for such an intricate, quality piece. This will make someone sing, when they receive it.

She measures approx 5.5cm in height and has a diameter of approx 4.5cm. The back of the piece is identical to another Dunlop piece I once owned, however, if someone insisted this was the Artificers; Guild, I could believe it-the attention to detail and hundreds of hours that have clearly gone into the creation of this piece are obvious. A stunning thing!