Estate Jewelry: A Spider Miscellany

This little spider is American, circa 1900. He’s made of gold and platinum, with diamond-accented legs, demantoid garnet eyes, and a body consisting of water opal (colorless, with an internal bluish or gold glow) and fire opal (variations of bright orange, yellow or red).

Spider cufflinks! Tiny, unnervingly realistic spiders of white gold and black star sapphire rest on beds of mother-of-pearl, set in 14k yellow gold.

Circa 1920, this sparkly Art Deco tie pin features a platinum and diamond spider (with a large sugarloaf cabochon sapphire body) set within a circle of more diamonds. The pin itself is 14k yellow gold, and the stones are set in platinum to enhance their brightness. The cabochon cut, in which the stone has been polished into a smooth dome with no facets, is one of the oldest types of gem cuts. A sugarloaf cabochon differs slightly because it has a soft, 4-sided pyramid shape rather than straightforward dome. Both cuts are excellent for showcasing a stone’s color.

Look at the detail on the legs! A black rhodium finish on realistically-modeled 18k gold legs sets this spider apart from the rest. His body pairs a huge 17.30 mm natural freshwater pearl with colored and white diamonds set in 18k.

A Japanese ivory and gemstone bracelet, featuring a spider and other insect motifs.

This Art Nouveau stick pin spider is gold, with a .80 carat diamond body. He’s European, circa 1900. (Note: The Tadema Gallery website does not directly link to items, so click on “Cufflinks & Stickpins,” and you’ll see him.)

This gorgeous vintage (circa 1975) compact is 14k yellow gold with a raised spider web motif.

Another spider brooch, circa 1900, with an opal body and garnet eyes.

A spider eyes up a hapless trapped fly in this huge (8” diameter!) French hair comb, circa 1900–1920. Made of amber-colored plastic, it’s amazing that the only damage to the piece is some chipping on one of the comb’s tines.


Spiders continue to be a beguiling subject for contemporary jewelry designers, so here’s a selection of some newer, younger arachnids.

London jewelers Violet Darkling created this silver bow necklace, complete with dangling 18k rose gold-plated spider.

These incredible black-plated 18k gold spider earrings by Jacob & Co. are accented with .75 carats of pavé-set diamonds and four white pearls.

Studio GemRecital has a wide range of web-inspired designs, including this asymmetrical necklace of 18k yellow gold with a cabochon aquamarine-bodied spider.

This sterling and 18k gold cuff bracelet is part of the “Spider Web” series by K. Brunini Jewels. Look closely and you’ll see that rose-cut diamonds are placed along the gold border.

Chandeliers of green tourmaline and ruby hang from spiders of rhodium-plated 18k white gold in these earrings by Theo Fennell.

This oxidized silver and diamond spider web ring by Atelier Minyon features an 18k rose gold spider. (The ring is also available sans spider.)

Metalsmith Tina Lazzarine uses mixed-media textiles and metals to create collars that question female identity. She states:

By binding soft fabric with wire into either protruding or constricting forms, sometimes both, my work becomes a metaphor for subjugation. Integral to the work are the dichotomies of hard and soft, seduction and repulsion, protection and intimidation. This complexity parallels the multi-faceted aspect of the female experience … The question that remains for the viewer is whether the wearer of the collar is in control — or under it.

This piece, “Femme Fatale,” combines Kumo shibori cotton, copper and enamel, and I have a fierce desire to roll up on a blind date wearing it.

And finally, the pièce de résistance: Jack duRose’s amazing “Black Widow” necklace combines black, white and gray diamonds with white gold, enamel and a central gleaming tanzanite. While this piece is stunning, please don’t miss his “Poison Moth,” an example of incredible gem artistry.

Previously: Theft, Mosquitoes, and the Slipper Acrostic Ring

Monica McLaughlin will miss Edith Zimmerman horribly, but she looks forward to following her progress as she steers her deviled egg boat from tiny house to tiny house. This installation of Estate Jewelry is for her.

(EZ: !!!)