The madness for rubies was preceded by a longstanding obsession for garnets, an equally attractive and substantially cheaper alternative that has made appearance in many fine and rare vintage jewelry through the timeline in history. Garnets are bohemian, they are mysterious and thereby, a perfect combination of qualities to be chosen to decorate jewelry. In recent time, the tradition of using garnets on elaborate jewelry pieces has been revived by designers and have forayed into the gemstone table beyond diamonds and such already popular gemstones.
Around 1500, Central Europe was the epicenter from where this culture of garnets spiked. It was set into motion by the spurt in the discovery of natural garnets in Central Europe around that time. Soon after, dark garnet fanned out across jewelry making stark appearances in not just crowns, but brooches, in not just rings, but necklaces. The fad touched the peak in later half of 1800 when garnets started to be mined actively throughout the central parts of Europe, and thus we understand why some of the most precious antique jewels that we find today have garnets on them.
Here are some very valuable jewels obtained from different eras in history that proudly wear bohemian garnets.
Butterfly Brooch from Victorian Era: This large butterfly brooch that came from a treasury of the Victorian era is incredible in its details. However, the highlight of the piece is not the artist’s close imitation of nature, but the varying sized garnets that cluster all over its wings. The piece uses a very dark shade of garnets and so to avoid playing down the color too much, the artist has sprinkled scraps of diamonds along the outer edges of the wing. Curved out of bronze that has blackened over time, this piece is worth a place in anybody’s jewelry box.
Victorian Rose Gold Garnet Ring: The match of garnets and diamonds was made back in the days when garnet first came to prominence. The contrast of colors makes the two stones the perfect pair. This rose gold ring was one of the chosen few ornaments that saw the ensemble of diamonds and garnets together in one design. The front of the ring curved into a sleek S wears 6 uncut garnets accented by two rose-cut diamonds on either ends.
1870’s Clover Leaf Bangle Bracelet: This elaborate gold and garnet bracelet is a prize to own. Encrusted with countless garnets rimmed by yellow gold, this piece was dated back to the 1870s.