Glass jewels

When women dream of jewels, their thoughts turn to gems, precious or not. But if you love luminous jewels, don't forget crystal. Crystal refers both to the mineral, and to leaded glass.
(Shown, Lalique Dragon Celeste pendant, details below.)

Leaded glass from the best artisans yields a pristine pool of colour, and that's the quartz we'll admire in this post.

I'm not thinking of Swarovski, I prefer the great French crystal houses' refined and historic designs, rather under the radar in North America.

Glass jewels are a smart jewel treat. You can flash a mammoth crystal rock without worry. The colours are luminous and intense, the crystal is durable, with reasonable care. And best of all, here's a way to update your jewelry wardrobe for far less than most stones.

Below, a selection from renowned crystal artisans.

My favorite is Baccarat, who offer both timeless and modern pieces. Baccarat small Hypnotic ring, £250 from Howarth Gallery, the star of the house's edgy Spring '10 collection and still in production. Full-lead crystal set in sterling. The large size is £345, both are assertive, audacious chunks.

Baccarat Occitane Cross pendant in iridescent clear, £135, stands alone or layers audaciously with pearls to mix edgy and trad. If you love the extraordinary, intelligent Ruth in Spooks (MI5), this is your piece.

(Also from Howarth Gallery or Baccarat boutiques.)

Lalique's Bucolique pendant revives its renowned Art Noveau design, $410 from Crystal Classics.

Baccarat's Tentation line, featuring lush rounded beads, is one of its most desired. Peony pink earrings, $450 from Crystal Classics.

Daum make glorious cabuchon pools in mesmerizing colours; this Cabuchon Ring, set in gold vermeil, is $745 from Daum's USA site, or see Daum France for international vendors. 3cm. or 1.25 inches wide.

Daum's Goute de Roseé earrings are shown in light blue, $358 from RoyalArtglass, also available in deeper hues. Like wearing a sliver of sky.

Lalique's Masque de Femme would delight a woman celebrating a milestone. I keep returning to this piece, it's glamourous and refined.

From the Cashs of Ireland's site: "The Masque de Femme panel created by Rene Lalique in 1935 to adorn a fountain embodies the imaginative power of its creator who was fascinated by women and nature. Both vintage and avant-garde, it reveals the face of an enigmatic woman with delicate traits, surrounded by aquatic fauna." Price, $445 from Cashs.

Lalique's Dragon Celeste pendant in red: Asian splendour, French craftsmanship. I'd love to wear this with a linen shirt. The detail on the dragon is far more beautiful than you can see here. Price, $495; also from Cashs.

Store your glass jewel in a pouch, give it a gentle bath now and then, and enjoy its glow, especially by day.

Crystal is one of my favourite materials for jewelry of natural yet not costly materials. And it is a renewable, non-politically-fraught substance.

Glass jewelry is also offered on Etsy for reasonable prices, quality varies. You may also find local artisans with the skill to create translucent wonders. 

Today I've chosen to show fine pieces, even though their depth and full beauty don't show up well in photos. Once you admire their depths and design, you can choose these, or local treasures, with confidence. 


Susan said…
I love all these Duchesse---especially the Lalique.

I also wanted to share this site:
spacegeek said…
I love those Baccarat ones! And on a mostly unrelated note (except about jewelry) here's a question perhaps you might be able to answer.

Maybe 6 months ago I saw a style of earring that I just loved, but cannot find again, nor remember the designer. They were a single semi-precious stone baguette-style with the ear wire going the top of the stone like a hugger hoop. The stone was not bezel set, but rather hung simply and elegantly just below the earlobe, but horizontally rather than like a drop.
They were relatively expensive for semi-precious stones--$300+US. The designer did them in many different gems. I have not been able to get these out of my head, but I cannot locate them no matter how much searching. I seem to recall the designer was female. Not Ippolita.

Any idea? Thanks for letting me use your space and your good mind! :-)
Rubiatonta said…
I can never see a Lalique piece without a giggle. A number of years back, my sister and I went to Easter Sunday service and were given small cross-shaped bottles of bubble stuff on strings. We had them around our necks at brunch when a gentleman came up and said, "What a lovely pendant! Is it Lalique?" To which I replied, "No, it's plastique."

The girls at the table all had a good laugh, but needless to say, the gentleman did not send us a round of mimosas afterwards!

Your suggestions are much more elegant, natch. ;-)
Duchesse said…
Susan: Karen Sugarman's designs would not suit my style, but others may like; thanks for the link.

spacegeek: Talk about a skill testing question! Cannot recognize from the description, but price point is actually reasonable (or is setting silver?) so I am wondering, possibly Kate Hines?

Rubi: That's funny- and also funny that a church would hand out bubblebath crosses.
Susan said…
I imagine some of the Sugarman pieces are too frou frou for you. Here's another site I like to peruse just for fun:
Leslie said…
Read your blog all the time! Loved the Baccarat peony pink earrings. Might I recommend Masterson Design, a jeweler in Houston? Her pieces are made of molten glass and silver. Unique and beautiful.
Duchesse said…
Leslie: I very much appreciate readers sharing their favourite jewelers (regardless of whether it is my taste or not). Thank you!
LPC said…
I wore a vintage glass bead necklace that I've had for decades, the other day. I felt so fashionable:). So daring...
Duchesse said…
LPC: it's this sort of touch that adds character and texture; good for you!
Anonymous said…
I had no idea that Daum was still making glass. Such amazing stuff, isn't it? The pieces you show are lovely. I have a necklace of graduated oval glass beads--faceted, probably Czech from the '20s, later shortened, in a clear hyacinth blue. Recently I took it out and thought that it might be time to find a top that would show it to advantage...

Duchesse said…
Anonymous/C: What a treasure! A v-neck or round neck in grey, black or white would show your hyacinth beads well. Or if you like colour, any shade of pink, orange, yellow or leaf green.

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