Garnets have a long and ancient history, and over time have been revered for possessing protective powers. A garnet is a species of gemstone that appears in a variety of colours, though the most common and most widely recognized is a deep red hue. Garnets are categorized into over ten varieties, and come in various shades of green, purple, red, orange and yellow. Dark, warm hued red garnets of the pyrope variety were particularly popular in eighteenth and nineteenth century jewellery. It is a relatively durable gemstone, and rates a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. The name derives from the Latin word ‘granum’, meaning grainy.
GARRARD & CO.
As a firm, Garrard can trace its origins back to the Georgian period, when in 1735 a young goldsmith by the name of George Wickes began to trade from a premises near Haymarket in Central London. Wickes was celebrated for his work in the fashionable rococo style and drew clients from amongst the elite and aristocratic, soon gaining the patronage of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Upon his retirement in 1760, Wickes was succeeded by two of his apprentices, John Wakelin and William Taylor who took control of the company until Taylor’s death in 1792, at which point Robert Garrard became a partner. In 1802, Garrard acquired sole ownership of the company and it would remain under the control of his family for the next one hundred and fifty years.
In 1843, Queen Victoria appointed Garrard as Crown Jewellers, and in this position the firm were responsible for producing jewellery for the royal family, as well as for upkeep of the Crown Jewels. Over the years they have produced numerous important pieces for their royal patrons, to include Queen Elizabeth’s coronation crown and the famous sapphire and diamond cluster engagement ring presented by Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, and now worn by HRH Catherine, Princess of Wales.
The study of gemstones.
A pendant, brooch or earrings with swinging pear-shaped drops. Popular in the Edwardian period.
‘Golconda’ refers to a region in India which was the first significant source of diamonds in the world. This area was also the first source of rare type IIa diamonds. This group of diamonds are the most chemically pure and display a fine whiteness and superior clarity. Golconda diamonds are still revered to be the finest quality diamonds in the world and this description implies a particularly rare quality. For centuries India was virtually the sole source of the world’s diamonds until the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in the early 18th century and then South Africa in the late 18th century.