Extraordinary Georgian Cut-steel Parure with Tiara, 1830 c.a.
An extraordinary cut-steel parure, comprising a draperie necklace, a tiara, a bracelet, two belts, one buckle, spectacles for theatre and one cross-pendant. Formerly property of a Countess. England, 1830 c.a.
Straordinaria parure in cut-steel (acciaio sfaccettato) che comprende una collana, una importante Tiara, due cinture, una fibbia, occhiali da teatro, una croce pendente. Dalla collezione della Contessa C.T.A. Inghilterra, 1830 c.a.
From around 1720 cut steel was manufactured in Woodstock, near Oxford in England. Later also Birmingham and Salisbury started a production. France served as a major export market but this was interrupted when war broke out 1793. The popularity of cut steel in France may in part have been due to Sumptuary Laws which limited who could wear precious metals and diamonds. Manufacture of cut steel within France is attested from 1780 and by the start of the 1820s. By the early nineteenth century it was was also being produced in Italy, Spain, Russia and Prussia. With the end of the Napoleonic wars British produces again and started exporting to France and Italy. Its use was not confined anly to those who were not able to afford more precious materials: in the inventory of the Empress Josephine's jewels made after her death, there were two suites of cut steel jewellery. The fashion for cut steel jewellery in France was probably given a boost when Napoleon married his second wife Marie Louise of Habsbourg and presented her with a parure consisting of cut steel jewellery. The quality and use of cut steel jewellery declined throughout the second half of the 19th century with stamped strips replacing individual rivets and pieces becoming increasingly flimsy, the final production ending in the 1930s. A Cut-Steel Tiara is today in the Swedish Royal Family collection.