A Boucheron opal and diamond necklace. The delicate Boucheron Art Deco inspired necklace has twenty fancy cut opals (9.05ct) set between pairs of princess cut diamonds (8.85cts) interspersed with three round diamonds in a mounted frame. All of the stones are set in white gold and are connected with a single link to create a fluid movement. From the centre hangs a larger opal, surrounded by smaller round cut diamonds. Below the central opal hang three strands (each 70mm) of diamonds and opals in the continuing the chains pattern to create a chandelier effect. The necklace is one of two made and was retailed by Boucheron for £117,000. Signed and numbered. Contemporary.
The unique appearance of opal has been a source of legends and superstitions since pretty much its discovery, with numerous cultures attributing supernatural powers to the stone. According to the ancient Arabs, opals were actually fragments of lightning that fell from the sky during a thunderstorm. Early Greeks believed that opal could prevent disease and bestow its owner with the ability to predict the future. The Romans marvelled at the kaleidoscopic colours of the stone, considering it as the most precious and powerful gem in existence, the only one suitable to be presented as an offering to the Gods. The veneration in which opal was kept by the Ancients is perhaps best illustrated by a story about wealthy Roman senator Lucius Nonius Asprenas, who is said to be the owner of one of the finest opals ever known. The spectacular gemstone caught the eye of Mark Anthony, who wanted to acquire it for his beloved Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Nonius Asprenas was unwilling to part with his treasure, choosing exile from Rome over handing the stone to the Roman general.
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