Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Englishwoman's Conversazione

Leonora - Is the wearing of jewellery on the decline, or otherwise? On the decline, most certainly, in a general sense, but on state occasions the blaze of diamonds is not less than ever. Beautiful execution and design in ivory, jet, or stone are now-a-days often more esteemed than ugly masses of gold and brilliants. The love of variety too, prompts even ladies of rank to change the fashion of their jewellery, and to be happier with an electro-plate duplicate of a work of fine art, which cost but a few pounds, than when adorned with a "gem" which would buy a German dukedom. The following historical facts, ancient and comparatively modern, are particularly interesting on this subject: - Sollia Paulina, a Roman lady, being invited to a banquet went to it bearing about her person chains, carcanets, and precious stones worth a million of money. Sir Walter Raleigh was observed at the court of Queen Elizabeth to wear his shoes so set with pearls and precious stones that they were estimated to exceed the value of six thousand six hundred crowns; and George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the favourite of James I, when admitted to an audience by Louis XIII, King King of France, as ambassador from the King of Great Britain, had jewels on his coat to the value of £100,000. These facts undoubtedly apply to state occasions; but, even at such times as those, we, in these latter days, do not desire to vie with our ancestors.
The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, October 1862

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