Amethyst is February’s birthstone and I’ve got a fresh pair of luscious amethyst cabochon studs in stock.
The studs are featured on my website as a set with 18K gold FitzRoy the Cat earring jackets. To get the studs by themselves for $550, inquire at info at wendybrandes dot com. First come, first served — there’s only one pair available.
For a splurge, there’s always my Marie Antoinette ring with a custom-cut 27.64 carat amethyst and two carats of green garnets. I can’t resist reposting this video that Becky Stone of Diamonds in the Library took at the Metal & Smith show last month.
I'm hard at work sorting through the 700+ photos I took at @metalandsmith! Full recap post to come tomorrow. Here's a little something to tide you over: the magnificent Marie Antoinette ring by @wendybrandesjewelry. . . . . . . . . . . . #amethyst #DiamondsInTheLibrary #notatradeshow #metalandsmith #tsavorite #jewelryblogger #finejewelry
This 2012 post about the matching Marie Antoinette earrings gets into why the French queen inspired this particular look, with these particular gems.
I recommended The Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, a nonfiction book by Caroline Weber, in that earlier post. For Marie Antoinette fiction, I love Versailles by Kathryn Davis. I’m also a fan of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette movie. I went to the New York Film Festival screening of that movie in 2006.
I didn’t have my Marie Antoinette designs made at the time, so I wore my Anne Boleyn necklace to the screening. I figured at least I was sticking with a beheaded-queen theme!
Speaking of Marie Antoinette, it looks like I’ve never done a Jewel of the Month post on my gold Madame Royale necklace, though I did write about my smaller, silver fleur de lis pendant. Well, better late than never!
“Madame Royale” was the royal title of Marie Antoinette’s eldest child, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, who was born in 1778. (A son and heir to the throne was desired, so Marie Antoinette greeted her daughter by saying, “Poor little one, you are not desired, but you will be none the less dear to me! A son would have belonged to the state — you will belong to me.”) In her nonfiction book Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terror, Susan Nagel wrote that Madame Royale was nicknamed “Mousseline Sérieuse” by her mother. “Serious Muslin” is an oxymoron that captured the personality of a young girl who was carefree when allowed to behave like a child, but “glum, grumpy and humorless” when dressed in the formal gowns and wigs required by life at Versailles.
Marie-Thérèse was only 11 when the Bastille was stormed on July 14, 1789, and 13 when the royal family was imprisoned in the Temple Tower. She was the only immediate member of the family to survive the French Revolution. Her parents and aunt were executed, while her brother, Louis-Charles, was physically and mentally abused. (His death was attributed to illness.)
Despite her own imprisonment and mistreatment, Marie-Thérèse was mentally tough and politically adept when she was freed at age 17. Nearly 20 years later, when Napoleon tried to retake France after fleeing exile on Elba, she was so fearless in standing her ground that the general called her “the only man in [her] family.”
My Madame Royale necklace represents Marie-Thérèse’s pain and strength: The fleur de lis stands out against a background engraved to look like a brick wall — all of that is made in weighty 18K yellow gold. The blackened silver bars of imprisonment don’t obscure the view of the royal symbol.
I decided this necklace should be as unique as Marie-Thérèse herself: I’ve only made one and will never make another!