Antique Parures - post 246
Large turquoise parure.
What's a Parure?
Henry Higgins, Eliza's teacher in My Fair Lady taught her that it doesn't matter what you say, but how you say it. If you want to sound as though you know things, use appropriate words.
Actually, a parure in the jewelry world simply refers to a set. A demi parure is a half set and a semi parure is a part set. Practise getting your lips and tongue around this word. Pah Roohr and make it sound oh, so French. Not too difficult.
They say that the value of an item is more than the sum of its parts. That is certainly true of jewelry sets, or parures. You could add up the constituent parts, but they are not going to come to the same value as the whole. Even a simple pair, say of bracelets, is worth more than two times one.
Parures can consist of a lot of items - from crowns, tiaras and bandeaux to necklaces, bracelets (always in pairs), brooches, stomachers, belts and rarely rings. For some reason, rings are not often to be found as part of the set. I do not know why this is so. Today, most people do not wear the lavish belts and stomachers, let alone crowns of 200 years ago, so most of those pieces were broken up to form something new and more wearable. However, we do occasionally find parures with various combinations and they are so much fun.
When you look for a set, try to find it in the original, fitted box. True, some great sets are without the box, which went to its maker many generations ago. These sets are wonderful, but somehow, just don't have the pezazz of the same set in a fitted box. No matter how disintegrated, the box really adds looks and value.
Wonderful amethyst set.
Big jewelry houses have 'collections' with a common theme, but I don't believe that parures are made today. People mix n match. That's fine, but there is something absolutely stunning about an entirely matching set. It's like the difference between wearing trousers and a jacket and wearing a matching suit. So very much more style to the latter. It also tells you a great deal about the wearer: someone who has gone the extra mile to do things right. And it shows.
a rare set from the Indian Raj.
Usually, we find a few elements of a parure or set. Maybe the bracelets were lost or converted, so all that remains is a pair of earrings and a brooch or pendant. Perhaps only the necklace and brooch remains. A demi-parure is a half set and a semi-parure is a part set. There is a parure or part-parure for every taste and to suit every pocket.
Tiny earrings and pendant set - a semi-parure for everyone at every price.
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