Newsletter No. 6-07 (Jun. 2007)   Page 5 of 5 / Sidan 5 av 5. [back to page 1] Arcive/Arkiv: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


This newsletter is written in order to spread experiences within the topic of historic textiles and reconstructions. Our ambition is to amuse you and stimulate interest in the 18th Century. Durán Textiles, who is mainly working with museum collections and Royal Castles, was founded in 2002 by CEO and production manager Laila Durán, with co-worker artist Torkel Henriksson who is doing the artworks and preparing the designs for production. Our production is done mostly in India supervised by Duran Textiles inspectors. 
- The articles are mainly written by Laila Durán but we also have help from colleagues and specialists from several museums and universities.  In the future this newsletter will be distributed four times a year and is free of charge. We hope you will enjoy our stories and offers and help us to spread the letter to friends and colleagues. Contact:

Detta nyhetsbrev skrivs för att sprida erfarenheter inom ämnet rekonstruktioner av historiska textiler och 1700-talet. Ambitionen är att roa och stimulera intresset. Durán Textiles har varit verksamt sedan 2002 och arbetar med projekt för Kungliga Slott och museisamlingar i hela Skandinavien. Laila Durán är VD och projektledare, Torkel Henriksson arbetar med originalen och alla förlagor för tryck och väv. På plats i Indien, där de flesta av tygerna produceras, finns Durán Textiles egna inspektörer.
- Artiklarna skrivs huvudsakligen av Laila Durán men vi får även hjälp av kollegor och specialister från olika muséer och universitet.  Nyhetsbrevet kommer i fortsättningen att komma ut fyra gånger per år och är helt kostnadsfritt. Vi hoppas ni ska uppskatta våra artiklar och erbjudanden och även sprida informationen vidare till Era vänner. Kontakt:



The Great Pretenders
By Laila Durán.

Imitations of expensive metalwork and gemstones have been used for personal adornment since far back in antiquity. As most artistic styles have spread to the Western world from the East, so did the knowledge of gems and jewellery. Diamonds originated first in India from where stories of their brilliant and hardness spread to Europe. In the 16th century the supply of diamonds to Europe increased greatly after a diamond mine was opened in the Kingdom of Golconda, southern India. Also significant was the improvement in techniques for cutting diamonds, around 1700 the Venetian Vincenco Peruzzi devised the brilliant-cut, a cut that enhanced the optical properties of diamonds, enabling the stone to reflect light and sparkle at its best.

Starting in the 18th century, Romanticism had a profound impact on the development of western jewellery, perhaps the most significant influences were the public’s fascination with the treasures being discovered through the modern archaeology. The increasing exploration and trade lead to bigger availability of a wide variety of gemstones as well as exposure to other cultures. Changing social conditions and the start of the industrial revolution also lead to growth of the middle class that wanted and could afford jewellery. As a result, the use of industrial processes, cheaper alloys, and stone substitutes, lead to the development of paste or costume jewellery.

In France, Georges-Frederic Strass (1701-1773), a German jeweller perfected a glass compound to imitate precious stones by 1735. These French pastes were immediately popular and in1734 Strass was appointed Jeweller to the King of France. Still his accomplishment did not insure his fame. The popularity of Strass´s glass stones also invited imitators and by 1776 there were over 300 members of a “ false jewellers corporation” (bijoutiers-faussetiers) in Paris alone. A new term was now coined to differentiate the arts: jewellers who worked in cheaper materials were called bijoutiers, while jewellers who worked with expensive materials were called joaillers, a practice that continues till this day.

The interest of imitation diamonds increased throughout the 18th Century. Portraits of wealthy men and women of the day include extravagant amounts of lace, patterned brocades, gold work, gemstones and diamonds. For the first time a differentiation was made between daytime and night time jewels. Diamonds were mostly used for formal evening occasions, while during day jewellery with more sober semiprecious stones such as garnets; cornelians, aventurine glass and pastes were preferred. As the middle classes were gradually rising throughout Europe, more interest in copying fancy gems in less expensive styles was developing.

Besides diamonds and coloured gems, between1780-1820 glassmakers were able to imitate opals with a special form of glass called opaline. In this type of glass an overall white appearance with scattered particles reflects blue light, and with a rose coloured foil behind, the glass resembles true opals. Another category of jewellery that grew popular in the early 19th century was jet or “mourning jewellery”. The jet as a gem material was highly popular during the reign of Queen Victoria because of its sombre colour and modest appearance. It had traditionally been fashioned into rosaries for monks. The Queen was often seen wearing jet jewellery after the death of Prince Albert in 1861and black jewellery became required at the court. This fashion allowed the wearer to continue to wear jewellery while expressing a state of mourning at the death of a loved one.

In the mid 19th century clothing and jewellery fashion were influenced by discoveries of ancient Roman sites at Pompeii and Herculaneum and of Etruscan tombs near Rome. Gold jewellery found here provoked a great interest in Europe for reproductions with fine gold filigree wires. Another important 19th century style was the revival of Renaissance enamels and the use of cabochon stones set in gold. After the “openening” of Japan in 1863, western artists were influenced by Japanese designs. The Art Nouveau styles stem in part from Japanese original as western artists interpreted them.

By 1925 Art Deco styles of geometric lines and bold colours were firmly established as the most popular fashion look among the wealthy and fashionable clients in Europe and the US. Evening dresses were frequently ornamented with elaborate beadwork – which was actually a form of costume jewellery in itself. Besides glass, alternate forms of imitation stones were investigated. Natural crystals were used when large and particularly brilliant effects were required, and the best of these came from Austria, Bohemia and Czechoslovakia. The workmanship and fine glass stones in these areas are still highly regarded today.
Natural crystals from the bottom of the river Rhine in Germany were early substitutes for diamonds. The popularity of these coined the term “Rhinestone” which today is used to mean any imitation stone, usually of glass, either coloured or clear.

Costume jewellery by Lyngerda Kelley, Nancy Schiffer.
Earrings by Daniella Mazetti, Amanda Triossi.





Brooch of silver with foil backed paste, French, late 18th century.

Two pins with silver backings and paste stones, English, 18th century.

Two link bracelets of silver with rhinestones, French, 1930´s.

Necklace and earrings with red moulded plastic beads and rhinestones, 1960.

Necklace of black glass imitating jet, English, 1875.

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