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American, probably New York, Sautoir Lorgnette. Platinum, diamonds, engraved glass, and eye glass, about 1920. 29 ½ in. Purchased with funds given by David K. Welles, Jr. in memory of his grandmother, Virginia R. Elmes, 1997.306. Gallery 34
This beautiful necklace from the early 20th century is more than just an elegant decoration for a woman’s neck. Sautoir lorgnettes served as a fashionable way for women to carry a hidden pair of eyeglasses. “Lorgnette” derives from the French word lorgner, meaning to peer at or stare; “sautoir” means chain. The dangling pendant has an engraved glass center that depicts a dancing woman. The folded pair of eyeglasses on the other side of the pendant spring open when the ring is pulled. The long, platinum bejeweled chain and carefully engraved details tell us that this necklace belonged to a woman of style (if a slightly near-sighted one).
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