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Antique Dearest brooch

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A brief article on acrostic jewellery such as Regard and Dearest jewellery:

Acrostic jewellery is a form of jewellery where the first letter of each gemstone ‘spells’ out a particular word or meaning. This form of jewellery goes as far back as the 1700s and was thought to have originated from French jeweller Jean-Baptiste Mellerio (1765-1850) who made jewellery for Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine. This form of jewellery quickly became popular, and came across the channel to be embraced by many English jewellers.


However, acrostic jewellery became most popular during the mid-19th century during what is known as the Romantic era. In France at this time the common words found in acrostic jewellery were often ‘souvenir’ (remembrance) and ‘amitié’ (friendship). In England, this form of jewellery is most often be found in brooches and rings known as a ‘regard’; which Other romantic sentiments found in acrostic jewellery can also be found in the form of ‘dearest’ and ‘adore’ jewellery. J’adore (love), was spelled out in a ring with jacinth, amethyst, diamond, opal, ruby and emerald gemstones, set in that order. Sometimes, the gems would be interspaced with seed pearls representing tears.


Many rings and bracelets were also made in which stones spelled out the names of loved ones a number of items commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte, for example, used this formula in charming ways.

Following his return from Egypt in 1799, he commissioned a spectacular sculpted and jewelled piece of artwork in the form of a clear quartz crystal sphinx. Set upon a silver base containing 114 precious stones, Napoleon’s ‘good luck charm’ featured stones arranged in a specific way formulated on an ancient code. Into the design are encoded the words ‘Emperor’ and ‘Empress’ as well as the initials of both

Napoleon and his wife Josephine Bonaparte and the date 15 August 1802, commemorating the simultaneous nationwide celebration of Napoleon’s 33rd birthday and his elevation to Lifetime Consulate status. His second wife, Empress Marie Louise, had three acrostic bracelets made by Chaumet. The stones spell the first names and dates of birth of Napoleon and Marie Louise, and the dates of their meeting and subsequent marriage in 1810.


Another similar form of jewellery, while not strictly acrostic jewellery, is ‘AEI’ themed pieces where a locket, for example, will have those three initials meaning ‘Amity, Eternity and Infinity’ to represent everlasting love.

All of this lovely acrostic jewellery given to loved ones is still considered very romantic to this day.





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