Suites, also called ‘parures’ from the French ‘parer’ or ‘to adorn’, comprise a set of matching jewellery pieces. The parure or suite of matching jewellery rose to popularity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but examples of matching sets of jewellery have been found throughout history. A full parure usually consists of a matching set of a pair of earrings, a bracelet (or two), a necklace, a tiara or diadem, and a brooch or pendant. A demi parure typically consists of a smaller matching set, such as a pair of earrings and a brooch. Indeed, all the necessary elements to adorn oneself can be found inside the box of a parure.

Famous suites of jewellery throughout history include the Devonshire Parure, which consists of a bandeau, bracelet, coronet, diadem, necklace, stomacher and comb all crafted from carved gems such as intaglios and cameos. The Delhi Durbar Parure, first worn by Queen Mary of Teck, consists of a spectacular array of emeralds and diamonds, set as earrings, tiara, necklace, and bracelets.

The popularity of the parure reached a peak in the late Georgian and early Victorian period. Delicate parures, made from thin cannetille gold and set with gemstones including aquamarine, topaz, citrine and foil-back quartz became a less costly alternative to the elaborate diamond-set suites that had been reserved for royalty in the 18th century. The matching set of earrings, a necklace and a hair comb or a tiara formed a perfect complement to the more simplistic and streamlined styles of dresses popular in the Regency period and the 1820s. By the mid-eighteenth century, suites crafted from coloured stones and fine goldwork became popular for wear at formal events, and their popularity endured through the nineteenth century

Bentley & Skinner offer a beautiful and diverse selection of full parures and demi-parures, dating from between the Georgian period and the end of the Victorian era. The Bentley & Skinner collection features both gem-set and cameo parures in a variety of styles.

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