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Throughout the 1760s and 1770s Martha Washington amassed a large set of garnet jewelry for herself and her daughter, Martha Parke Custis. Miss Custis' first purchase consisted of "1 pr Garnet Earrings […] 1 Garnet Hoop Ring […] 1 Garnet Necklace" from London jeweler Benjamin Gurdon & Son in 1764. Although the earrings are no longer associated with the set, this necklace and a ring survive. Originally designed with close-coupled clusters and a matching drop pendant, the necklace was likely refashioned to suit period tastes in the 1820s by Miss Custis's namesake, Martha Parke Custis Peter.

See also ring, W-2687/B.

Description

Necklace featuring one hundred and seventy-eight almandite garnets set in fifteen sections, each suspended from two gold chains attached to soldered bars with rings. The necklace is secured by a tongued clasp embellished with three garnets. The sections alternate between six lobed-petaled flower clusters and six diamond-petaled flower clusters embellished with C-shaped extensions mounted on either side. The sections mirror one another from the central oval wreathed rosette. Beneath the center of the rosette is a horizontally mounted bar made to receive a pendant. Each gem is backed with foil in a closed setting.

Date

1764


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Silver, gold, garnet


Dimensions

Overall: 20 1/2 in. x 7/8 in. (52.07 cm x 2.24 cm)


Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Walter Gibson Peter, Jr. in memory of Agnes Peter Mott, 1975


Object Number

W-2687/A


Colors (Beta)


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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