Antique & Estate Jewelry / Diamonds

Hancocks London Jewel of the Month: A Victorian Rivière Diamond Necklace


Named after the word meaning “river” in French, rivière necklaces feature graduated stones that delicately and naturally fall against the nape of the neck, over the collarbones, and down the chest. A popular design throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, especially among royal families and society’s elite, there seems to be a reignited interest in it yet again as a sophisticated and timeless fine jewelry option—especially in iterations with uniform diamonds. As such, jeweler Hancocks London has chosen the perfect example of one from the Victorian era to highlight as its jewel of the month for November.

“It is beautifully articulated and feels wonderfully silky and fluid,” said Guy Burton, the director of Hancocks London. “The diamonds are bright and lively and have been nicely graduated in a continual tapering from front to back.”

“This necklace is a lovely example of its kind and has a delicate femininity that many do not,” he added. “It even hides a little secret! The central largest diamond conceals a hinged, drop-down loop meaning that a pendant could be added. This is a lovely extra feature that increases the versatility of the piece and allows for personalization.”

Hancocks riviere diamond necklace
Hancocks London rivière necklace (circa 1860) in gold with 12 cts. t.w. old-cut diamonds, $40,209; Hancocks London

The piece (with 12 carats of old-cut diamonds) comes in its original silk- and velvet-lined leather case from Hunt & Roskell, which was once a renowned jeweler on Bond Street and held the royal warrant of Queen Victoria for a number of years. It’s monogrammed in gold with the date it was made, 1860, and the initials L.H. for whoever its lucky owner once was!

Top: Hancocks London’s November 2022 Jewel of the Month is this Victorian rivière diamond necklace (circa 1860) with 12 cts. t.w. of old-cut diamonds (photos courtesy of Hancocks London).

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By: Annie Davidson Watson

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