Collectable Jewellery

Vintage Butler & Wilson Faux Pearl and Gold Tone Cross Necklace


Shipping to United States: Free
  • Details
    Gorgeous vintage Butler and Wilson Iconic large goldtone and faux pearl necklace. One of the most famous of the B&W brand necklaces from the 1980s, and one of the rarest. It is really a piece of jewelry art, beautifully balanced, heavy and beautiful. It consists of a very large twisted goldtone necklace from which hangs an enormous baroque cross made of beautiful filigree open cut goldtone work in swirls and curls on the back and front. around 4 faux half pearl at each point of the compass which accent a huge faux prong set half pearl measuring over 2 inches in diameter. This pearl has a goldtone cord accent surrounding it. The pendant hangs from a fixed half hoop on the top of the cross through which are two oval shaped links that the chain floes through.

    These early pieces are rare and this is a particularly fine example of early Butler and Wilson jewelry before they turned to mass production and the QVC channel. It is very unusual to find these early pieces that are now avidly collected.

    The pendant measures 4 1/2” by 4”
    The necklace including the pendant measures 20"

    Marked B&W in a round cartouche on the back.

    Sold in good vintage condition with its original stones and settings, with a little loss of gold plating to the bezel setting and a small scuff to the pearl face. Comes in its original box


    From the very beginning the legendary English costume jewellers Butler & Wilson never did subtle. Wilson and his partner Nick Butler started life 40 years ago on an antique jewellery market stall in Antiquarius in London's King's Road. Three years later, they opened their famous shop on the Fulham Road and added their first original designs to their Art Deco Collection. By the end of the decade, the Butler & Wilson team had been asked to design the Christmas lights in Regent Street. In the next decade, they were commissioned to work with both Pirelli calendars and Georgio Armani; they established a foothold in Harrods and a shop on Sunset Boulevard in LA. When Buckingham Palace opened up to the scrutiny of the general public, Butler & Wilson were appointed to design a range of jewellery inspired by the palace's interiors. They also had a long-term fan in Princess Diana.
    Future historians of human adornment may puzzle over the 1970s vogue for fake diamanté spiders worn on ladies' black evening dresses. Students of fashion will wonder why bow-tied teddy bears in rhinestones began to adorn female lapels in the power-dressing 1980s. Psychologists of male purchasing patterns will speculate why so many comfortably-off men, on their wives' birthdays, instead of heading for Asprey and Tiffany's to purchase an 18-carat diamond, went instead to a shop in London's Fulham Road and picked out a pewter-crystal flamingo to adorn the memsahib's bosom...

    Why were these bits of jewellery so popular? Because they were gorgeous, and cute and witty, and lent a lustre of vivacity to ordinary people and ordinary clothes. All had an old-fashioned gaiety about them; they were throwbacks to the Jazz Age and the flapper decade, not just their Art-Deco designs but their love of paste diamonds and resplendent fakery for its own sake.

    A slightly shocking lurch down-market, saw Butler & Wilson linked up with the QVC shopping channel. It made them a fortune and saw the signature designs of their early days being joined by rhinestone Bambis and yet more animals and birds: raccoons, owls and butterflies. It all served to make these early classic pieces hard to find collectors pieces that are now hugely sought after and traded.
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