#4282 agate earrings with cannetille.
Antique Cannetille Jewelry-post 172
The origin of antique Cannetille Jewelry:
After the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, the resources of Europe and England were somewhat depleted. Gold was scarce, labour was cheap. The clever jewelers of the day created a brilliant and beautiful solution to the paucity of materials, making a little bit of gold go a long way. Antique cannetille jewelry is very beautiful and widely sought after.
It has been suggested that cannetille work was inspired by the Portuguese - both in their gold work and embroidery. Other theories abound - that India was the origin of this kind of work, or was it maybe France? Ultimately, we do not know exactly how this style of gold-work came about. We often associate fine cannetille work with Great Britain during the period 1820 - 1830. This is a convenient way of identifying and dating antique jewelry. However, there was quite a lot of fine cannetille work being made in France and some of it dates to slightly earlier in the 19th century. French jewelry is always hallmarked, so we can date and identify it conveniently as well. Cannetille is associated with the period of George IV's reign, 1820-1830 and when you see cannetille work, especially from Great Britain, it's a good guess that is when it was made.
#5432 French Turquoise parure with cannetille.
What is cannetille?
Cannetille uses thin threads of gold, winds, coils, twists and turns it, sometimes embellishing it with tiny granulations or little golden globules. Rosettes and pyramids were often built up from tiny wire strands. This results in extremely fine and delicate gold mounts of great beauty. Cannetille incorporates filigree work, but goes a step further as it is often quite 3 dimentional, whereas regular filigree work is more flat.
#5305 Georgian pink sapphire torpedo earrings with cannetille.
#6726 Georgian cannetille pink topaz earrings.
Not only gold was in short supply at the time: expensive gems were also difficult to procure, so many colorful lesser stones were used in their stead. This means that cannetille jewelry is often set with bright and cheerful colored stones.
We do know how the end came for cannetille: cheaper and easier means of production were invented. Thus, cannetille jewelry was replaced, in the 1830's by repousse sheet work. Cannetille can be associated with George IV - a great lover of jewelry and fine arts. His boorish brother William, who became king after his death is associated with the less refined repousse work of the '30's.
#6851 antique cannetille brooch.
In my searches for great antique jewelry, cannetille is high up on the list of desireable. It can be found, but not often and one must make sure that condition is good, as with all antique jewelry.
Beware of fakes and later 'copies'. I found a necklace set in a cannetille setting, but there was something heavy and slightly clumsy about the cannetille. It was not doubt a much later Victorian version of cannetille. Even during the later 19th century, it had become impossible to attain that lightness and delicacy of the 'real thing'. Some later versions are worth buying, but you can distinguish them via general style, workmanship and materials.
#6705 Georgian cannetille amethyst earrings
Despite it's great delicacy, cannetille has been surprisingly successful in withstanding the wear and tear of the last 200 years. It is not that rare to find, even in great condition.