All The Brilliants

Lady Mary Wortley Motague

A celebration of extraordinary Power Women throughout time, a jewel or significant artifact of her era, and a modern interpretation of this narrative in jewelry.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu


Any idea what being an 18th century feminist might entail? Look no further than #PowerWoman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 - 1762)! She defied convention by “stealing” her education, becoming (arguably) the first female travel writer, and introducing smallpox inoculation to Western medicine.

Following her husband’s appointment as Ambassador to Istanbul, Lady Mary had unique, personal interactions with Ottoman women. Through her written personal observations, she set the record straight on (male) misconceptions about Turkish women in terms of tradition, fashion, religion, treatment and liberties - at times more of a critique on Western culture.

Most notably she was a proponent of inoculation against smallpox. Back in England, the medical establishment was suspect of this Eastern “folk treatment”. She famously publicized the inoculation of her daughter when a smallpox epidemic struck England. The controversial treatment was further tested, overcoming the skeptics the following year.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, depicted in Turkish splendor by Achille Devéria, can be seen at London’s @NationalPortraitGallery ©National Portrait Gallery

Imperial Ottoman aigrette Sothebys Jewels


When a woman slips on a turban with a bejeweled and feathered pin, it does not escape notice! It seems #PowerWoman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu may have rocked many similar to this 18th century imperial Ottoman aigrette (plume of feathers), which appeared at a London @SothebysJewels auction in 2016. This Turkish ornament is nothing short of eloquently exotic with emeralds, rubies and diamonds, set of with a spray of peacock feathers!


In a way, Jo Thorne and #PowerWoman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu are both pioneers and liberators. In the case of @JoThorneStudio, she is on a mission to bring a forgotten jewelry icon, the hair pin, out of obscurity and back into the light! Her statement pieces express something poetic, not only as objects of beauty, but bringing a new dimension to hair jewels. These are just a glimpse of her flower hair pins, crafted in gold and rare green sapphires…

Kindly contact us with interest.