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The star sapphire in the center of the depicted bracelet is something we hardly ever see, we couldn't stop playing with it in the sunlight. This is how one wants to have a Victorian bracelet with a star sapphire and rose cut diamonds to look like. The overall impression of this beauty is impressive, we are not even sure its splendour is caught well on the pictures.
When looking at the master mark we see an "L" and a "G" which was the "poiçon de maître" (French for "master mark") for Léon Gariod. This company was established by Gaucher and Tonnelier in 1859. Gaucher became the sole owner in 1869 and started a partnership with Gariod in 1875 who took over the company in 1884. The company with its address in Rue St. Augustin 29 in Paris became specialized in articulated bracelets and mat gold chains with precious stones.
A star sapphire is a variety of sapphire that has a silky structure and when cut en cabochon shows a 6-rayed (sometimes 4-ray, 8-ray or 12-ray) star in reflected light, due to the phenomenon known as asterism.
Asterism is an optical phenomenon of a star-like figure that is seen in some crystals by reflected light or transmitted light. An example is the 6-ray star-like figure that is observed by reflected light in some gemstones (especially the star ruby and the star sapphire) when cut en cabochon in such a manner that the greatest thickness of the stone lies parallel to the vertical axis of the crystal. The stone must be precisely cut, aligned with the vertical axis, as otherwise the result will be an off-centre, crooked or dim star, or even the absence of a star.
The effect is caused by the reflection of light from a series of microscopic fibrous inclusions or small canals lying within the crystal parallel to the prism faces and arranged in three directions that intersect, usually at angles of 60°.
What's interesting about the company of Léon Gariod is that they worked very closely together with L.Gautrait, an illuster jeweller of the Art Nouveau period of who not much, if any, biographical information is known. According to Vever (who wrote the "bible" for antique jewelers around 1900), Gautrait was a "ciseleur-modeleur" and fidèle collaborateur" of the Parisian jewellers Léon Gariod. Vever characterised his collegue as an "excellent perfectionistic jeweller with a delicate taste".
Vever continues: "These simple yet decorative jewels were meticulously made and extremely popular. With his attractive brooches and his pendants of contemporary or traditional inspiration, Gariod's work has attracted a great deal of attention. With his faithful collaborator M.(...M and not L ! - Adin) designs and chases these creations, characterized by their great refinement.
See also our:
other sapphire jewelry
our latest acquisitions
extensive antique jewelry glossary
antique jewelry style overview