An impressive 9ct gold Arts and Crafts necklace that I attribute to Rhoda Wager. Rhoda Wager was born in London in 1875 and brought up in Bristol, then she studied drawing and painting at the School of Art, Glasgow from 1897 to 1903. She exhibited metalwork and jewellery at the Glasgow Art Club in 1901 and at Cork, Ireland, next year. From 1903 she was a member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists and showed regularly with them. Returning to Bristol, Miss Wager taught art at St Mary's Girls' School. She spent her holidays making jewellery under Bernard Cuzner, a talented silversmith who had designed Liberty & Co. Ltd's 'Cymric' jewellery in 1899.
Late in 1913 Rhoda went to live on her brother's sugar plantation in Fiji. Settling in Sydney in 1918, she resumed jewellery-making. This is when she began using opals in her jewellery as she could source them fairly easily. Her style is very distinctive with the use of engraved leaves on either side of the opals. Her work is also similar to Bernard Instone's designs.
A member of the Society of Arts and Crafts of New South Wales, Rhoda Wager later joined the Melbourne and Brisbane societies, showing annually at their exhibitions. She retired in 1946.
A review of her hand-wrought jewellery at the Dunster Galleries, Adelaide, in 1925, stated that her 'work is wrought from beginning to end. Each flower, stem and leaf or berry is made separately and soldered on bit by bit. Her work provides a link with the English Arts and Crafts Movement, and with jewellery designers like Cuzner and Sybil Dunlop. She died in 1953. This necklace is a tour de force of graded and well matched opals that display a myriad of blue, red and green colours. It is a real statement when worn