Downton Abbey is airing in the UK this month, I just happen to know, because the publicity photos invariably prompt someone to request a necklace “just like Lady Mary’s.”

I adore the Edwardian era in jewellery and my ropes of semi-precious stones punctuated with silver and marcasite reflect that. So once Downton became a hit, clients made the connection and began requesting Downton-inspired pieces that riff on the show’s vintage jewellery.

Pyrite stones mixed with silver beads:

ImageI rarely do a knock-off since not everything works in the modern era. The cold, hard jet beads that were very popular then just don’t flatter today’s fashions or most complexions. Sometimes that flat black just sucks the colour right out of your face.

But I appreciate the design, so I work with dusky, silvery pyrite beads instead. They have all the sophistication of the black stones but they bring some light to the wearer’s face. And some sparkle. They work a treat to brighten-up that go-to little black dress.

They may not look exactly like the gems found in Lady Mary’s wardrobe, but I like to think that the 1920s fashionista herself would appreciate them. Especially since she’s going to be wearing a lot of black in Season 4. (Matthew’s exit still chokes me up.)

Sparkly, faceted black onyx, mix with silver beads:



Another gleaming pyrite and silver necklace



Freshwater pearls in purple hues mixed with silver beads and finished with faceted lilac amethysts. Can be worn long or short.