Dramatic Victorian grand tour banded agate bracelet.
Made as Grand Tour souvenir, still highly sought after today.
This 19th century bracelet features superbly crafted specimen oval cabochon stones, highlighting the varying layers, dynamically pattern and natural beauty of the banded Agate in such a phenomenal way, set in 14 karat gold and gilt metal setting. Never before have we seen such a fantastic example.
The Grand Tour was a traditional trip taken by upper class young men and women, with the goal of exposing them to the artistic riches of France and Italy, thereby completing their education. These long journey became a Practice of the socially elite of Europe beginning in the late seventeenth century, and grew in popularity until the middle of the nineteenth century. These tours were so popular that by the second half of the eighteenth century wealthy young men and women from North and South America travelled abroad as well. As part of this tradition, travelers would collect artwork and souvenirs as mementos of their travels. This rare 19th-century bracelt was almost certainly made in Italy during the height of the Grand Tour when the fervor for all things ancient pervaded the decorative arts.
Banded agate, the microcrystalline variety of quartz that looks so pretty in jewelry such as this bracelet. Used since prehistoric times, agates were amongst the world’s first lapidary materials.
The banding in this type is formed when lava in cavities cools. During this cooling process, steam and gasses form bubbles in the liquid rock that are thus preserved. Then silica-bearing water solutions penetrates into the bubbles and coagulate to form layers of silica gel, till the whole cavity is filled. The varying (mineral) compositions of these layers give the bands their distinctive color. Elegantly moving from deep rich chocolate brown to milk-white.
The stones compliment each other exceptionally, looking balanced when worn. Earth’s natural elegance.
Length: approx. 18cm.
Dimensions of the cabochons: approx. 3.4 x 2.8cm.
Gross weight: 80.5g.
Wear consistent with age and use. The overall condition of the bracelet is very good. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the banded agate stones or diamonds, all of which are intact. The clasp and safety chain are snug, secure, and in good working condition.