Last Sunday the Antiques Roadshow came from RAF Coningsby. It was filmed earlier this summer. One of the items featured was a beautiful Arts and Crafts fringe necklace in its original Liberty case, owned by a very lucky young lady. It features moonstones and baroque pearls, with decorative leaves picked out in blue-green enamel.
Arts and Crafts fringe necklace, c. 1905, in its original Liberty case. I am sure this is designed by Jessie M King.
The expert, John Benjamin, dated it from about 1905, that the blue-green were little blobs of glass set on gold (ie vitreous enamel), and called the pearls blister pearls. He said blister pearls are ‘mis-shapen white pearls, natural pearls’. My understanding (probably incorrect) is that blister pearls are those half-formed things caught under the nacreous skin of the oyster shell, whereas pearls proper, both regularly-shaped and irregularly-shaped, are free within the shell. I am more used to seeing pearls like these — irregularly-shaped proper ‘free’ pearls — described as baroque pearls. He did not attribute a designer and valued it at £3,000.
I think this necklace positively screams out Jessie M King. It’s her style, her colour palette — everything about it suggests it is her design. Jessie’s pieces were usually made with semiprecious stones, and enamel, and she used the enamelled leaf motif extensively.
Jessie M King. Opal, peridot, baroque pearl and enamel necklace, c. 1900. Sold by Van den Bosch.
Jessie M King. Opal, peridot, baroque pearl and enamel necklace, c. 1900. Sold by Van den Bosch. Detail.
Jessie M King brooch design for Liberty & Co. Gold, moonstone and enamel. Liberty model number 1800. Sold by Tadema Gallery.
Jessie M King design for Liberty & Co. Gold, sapphire, moonstone and green enamel necklace. Sold by Van Den Bosch.
Jessie M King design for Liberty & Co. Moonstone and enamel necklace. Sold by Van den Bosch.
Jessie M. King for Liberty & Co. Ring, gold, silver, enamel and chrysoprase. Sold by Tadema Gallery.
Jessie M King for Liberty & Co. A silver and gold necklace set with moonstones within borders of blue/green enamelled leaves surrounded by gold wire wirework and gold florets. The silver chain with a gold clasp. British. Circa 1900. Size: Height of drop pendant only 4.4 cm. Width 2 cm. Width across three moonstones 11 cm. Total length around necklace 41 cm. Sold by Van den Bosch.
Jessie M King for Liberty & Co. Turquoise and enamel necklace. Sold by Van den Bosch.
Jessie M King for Liberty & Co. Moonstone and enamel brooch. Sold by Tadema Gallery.
The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer, and the segment runs from 21:00 – 24:07.
I wrote a blog post about Jessie’s jewellery designs a while ago. It has more detail of the life of this fascinating and multi-talented Scottish artist.