Before he married Mary Lily Kenan, New York native Henry Flagler first visited Florida in the winter of 1878. Flagler instantly saw potential in the state, which at the time had less than half a million residents, and was struck by the stunning ocean views and serene breezes the state offered.
Moving methodically down the east coast of Florida Flagler began buying land and creating fantastical destination hotels, resulting in revenues previously unseen in the state. At the end of the 19th century Flagler was the force behind the modern creation of the resort towns and cities such as Lake Worth, Palm Beach and Miami, in addition to being the creator of the consolidated Florida East Coast Railway, a system that included the first Over-Sea Railroad all of which helped build tourism to Southern Florida down through the Florida Keys.
In August of 1901, Henry Flagler married Mary Lily Kenan, a socialite from the philanthropic Kenan family of Kenansville, North Carolina. The home and life they created together was an American Beaux-Art dream, complete with an impressive home in Palm Beach Flagler named Whitehall, described at the time by the New York Herald as, “… more wonderful than any place in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.” Today Whitehall has been turned into the well- known Flagler Museum that pays homage to the impact Henry Flagler had on his beloved state. Unfortunately, the couple was married only until Flagler’s sudden passing in 1913, making his young bride the wealthiest widow in America.
With the wealth boom that the Industrial era brought, so came the opulence into the lives of those such as Henry Flagler and his family. Jewelry of that period was typically very ornate with a much more sophisticated use of platinum than ever before seen. Women were suddenly encouraged to wear ropes of pearls and garland style necklaces along with important gemstones set in brooches, in rings, in tiaras and in pendants.
This magnificent emerald pendant, owned by the couple, is a testament to the wealth and richness of the early 20th century in America. While simple in design, the setting was created to showcase the impressive gemstone, highlighting its impressive deep green hues with just a slight diamond accent. Stated as being of Classic Colombian origin by the American Gemological Laboratory, this emerald displays the most desirable qualities the Colombian mines can offer, and is in keeping with the level of quality and luxury the Flagler name is still known for today.
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