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The Sautoir Necklace

sau·toir

[soh-twahr, saw-; French soh-twar]  noun, plural sau·toirs  [soh-twahrz, saw-; French soh-twar]
1.a ribbon, chain, scarf, or the like, tied around the neck in such a manner that the ends cross over each other.
2.a chain to which a pendant is attached, worn around the neck.
An-art-deco-diamond-sautoir-circa-1930
A sautoir is a French term for a long necklace that suspends a tassle or other ornament. This type of necklace first became popular during the Edwardian era because Queen Alexandra often wore them. If the design is one long “jump rope” style, it can be worn loose with the tassels hanging on both sides or wrapped as many times as you would like for a different look. The length is 71.5 cm . This length is the main consideration for a necklace to be considered a sautoir as well.
Chaumet-Art-Deco-Diamond-Black-Enamel-Sautoir-Betteridge
These beautiful necklaces evolved in the early part of the twentieth century in response to the elongation of the feminine silhouette created by the columnar styling of dresses of the period. The most popular designs were make of woven or twisted ropes of pearls suspending a tassel.
NATURAL-PEARL-AND-DIAMOND-SAUTOIR-ONE-SMALL-CULTURED-PEARL-FRENCH-1930S-Sothebys

One of the most well known designers of sautoir necklaces was Coco Chanel. She is well known for modern renditions of the earlier Edwardian style in long strands of pearls and “chicklet” necklaces which featured unfoiled rhinestones that were linked together in a long chain line fashion.

The Art Deco period fostered an inevitable progression toward geometric diamond and gem-set sautoirs. Multipurpose adaptability was a feature built into much of the jewelry of the 1920s and 30s and sautoirs were no exception. Often they converted to bracelets, shorter necklaces and head ornaments with interchangeable pendants and tassels that could also be suspended from earrings or another necklace. This feature allowed an individual chameleon-like piece of jewelry to economically and efficiently serve more than one purpose.

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