While etiquette proscribed against a show of dazzling stones during the daytime, at night they were worn everywhere. Beauty and practicality combine in these diamond-drop earrings with removable "coach" covers. These spherical snap-on covers, made of gold enameled in black, were used to protect the diamonds and to make them less conspicuous during travel. The cover has a hinge for opening and a small slot into which the pendant loop fits neatly. When worn with their covers, the earrings appear to be restrained black drops; with the covers removed, the sparkling diamonds are revealed. This pair, made in New York in the 1880s, is similar to a design by George W. Washburn of West New Brighton, New York, patented in 1882.
Purchase, Susan and Jon Rotenstreich Gift, 2000 (2001.234a–d).