19th Century French White Paste Rivieré

19th century French paste rivieré necklace. Each paste is set in sterling silver on cutaway settings. It lies beautifully on the neck. French hallmarks. Circa 1840. 

Hidden push clasp. Measures 15" in total length. 

Paste stones are made from highly refractive leaded glass, but paste jewels are not considered counterfeit jewelry. It was made to achieve certain decorative effects rarely realized with diamonds and other precious stones.  Without the high cost of materials, paste artisan skills were often developed and extended much further than those of diamond workers.  At its peak of popularity, in Paris alone, there were 300 jewelers specializing in paste Jewels.  At its best, the antique paste is to be compared only with the finest jewelry for sheer artistry and craftsmanship.