Georgian Coque de Perle Drop Earrings

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Rare and lovely, a pair of antique Georgian Coque de Perle drop earrings. Circa 1740's, these glamorous 'Pearl' earrings (and other jewels) were worn by the well-to-do who LOVED jewels and in the days when the Pearl was the most desired of all gems, the bigger the better. 

From Lang Antique Jewellery University; 'Coque de perle, from the French for ‘pearl shell’ was a Georgian faux pearl shaped from the East Indian Nautilus shell. The central whorl of the convex part of the shell was cut away to form these delicate “eggshell pearls.” Filled with cement to stabilize it, Coque de Perle was very popular because of its high level of iridescence.'

According to French expert Jean Henri Prosper Pouget writing in 1762:
"Coque de perles are flat on one side, and are used for ornaments, one side of which only is seen. By Pliny they are called physemata. Artificial pearls of this kind have, for some time past, been employed in making ear-rings..... 'La Coque de perle,' says he, "is not formed in a pearl-shell like the pearl; it is procured from a kind of snail found only in the East-Indies. There are several species of them. The shell of this animal is sawn in two, and one Coque only can be obtained from each. The Coques are very small, and one is obliged to fill them with tears of mastic to give them a body, before they can be employed. This beautiful snail is found generally in the sea, and sometimes on the shore.'"

Bordered with hand faceted Cut Steels (also très fashionable at the time) for a touch of dark sparkle, these courtly earrings are a scarce find and show such beautifully minute work. 

Presented in an antique velvet and silk box, they are paired with a matching sunray brooch. These earrings were likely once on different fittings, but now have traditional 9ct Gold wires. They measure 5cm from the top of the wires.  We have repaired one Steel stud to the very top, filing it in the traditional way, and we must say it took some time and was very fiddly work!

Read our BLOG article about Cut Steel Jewellery. 

Read this article from Two Nerdy History Girls about Coque de Perle. 

If you'd like to pay for this piece in instalments, our Layaway Terms can be read here. 

Most of our rings can be adjusted to fit for free, this can be done on purchase by making a note in the order form if you know the size, or at a later date if it is a gift. You can download our handy ring sizing guide here, but don't hesitate to contact us if you need further help with this. If visiting us size adjustments can usually be done in around an hour-ish. 

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Buying from us...

Payment is made securely through Shopify with a credit or debit card, or alternatively via bank transfer, Paypal, cheque or cash. Our telephone number is 01273 326618. 

Once payment has been received, you will receive an email confirmation of your order and we will begin to arrange delivery of your purchase.

All items come with a presentation box and items over £500 with an insurance valuation. In the rare instance that the original box is available, this will be included. We can also giftwrap your special purchase.

Returns or exchanges are simple, should your purchase be unsuitable for any reason.

Delivery of your precious items...

UK Delivery

Posted by insured and trackable Royal Mail ‘Special Delivery’. Guaranteed for the next day after posting.

International Delivery

Outside of the UK delivery costs £12.50. We use Royal Mail Tracked and Signed, but we often upgrade to FedEx courier for free.

Shop Pick-up

All of our items can be viewed in our shop in Brighton Lanes, so if you'd like to order and pick up just let us know...