Necklace

Necklace

c. 1775-95

Gold, silver and brilliants

Part 1: 29.6 cm (11 5/8 in.); Part 2: 12.1 cm (4 3/4 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1964.35

Did you know?

This type of necklace, with its single large pendant, is known as a lavalier and was popular among aristocratic women during the 1700s. Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, was known to have several necklaces of this type.

Description

Throughout the 1700s, the growing trade for personal luxury objects transformed the material culture surrounding marriage and courtship. Gifts such as perfume, sheet music, books, textiles, portrait miniatures, and jewelry often demonstrated the status of the gift giver and their investment in the relationship. While intended to be seen and admired, this glittering and ostentatious necklace disguised a system based on the labor and suffering of enslaved or indentured people, whether in gold and stone mines or the shop where it was made.

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