Garnets were in vogue when Martha Washington received this necklace from England in January 1759. The semi-precious stones, ranging in color from deep pinks to purplish-reds, were probably mined in Bohemia, while the necklace's style and mounting suggest a Parisian maker. It ultimately retailed in goldsmith Susanna Passavant's Ludgate Hill shop, where the Washingtons' agent in London purchased it. Mrs. Washington's fondness for garnets is evident from the number of necklaces, earrings, pins, hair ornaments and rings she assembled for herself and her daughter, Patsy (1757-1773), in the 1750s and 1760s. Properly faceted and set, this hard stone out-sparkled even more costly precious gems such as diamonds.
Necklace featuring five floral rosettes comprised of seventeen, variously sized, brilliant- and oval-cut garnets and thirty-seven, square, cushion-cut garnets (five sets of six and one of seven). All stones are set in closed silver mounts with solid backings and linked by small silver rings; the silver was originally gilded or washed in gold. Tubular hexagonal gold catch.
Silver, gold, rhodolite garnet
Overall: 17 1/2 in. x 5 in. (44.45 cm x 12.7 cm)
Overall (Diameter of rosette): 5/8 in. x 5/8 in. (1.59 cm x 1.59 cm)
Gift of Barnaby Conrad, 1989
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