- Total Carat Weight: 0.375 ctw = ~0.38 ctw
- Precious Metal Weight: Approx. 3.77 dwt
- Precious Metal Material: 14k yellow gold body with 18k yellow gold pin stem
- Dimensions: 24.4 mm x 24.4 mm; 0.96 inches around
- Weight: A nicely hefty 5.86 grams
- Era: 1870s, Mid to Late Victorian
- Markings: There is a very faint marking on the stem pin to the brooch’s reverse, which the shop believes could be a partially-polished French eagle’s head hallmark indicating the 18 karat gold content. Otherwise, the brooch is unmarked but has been tested. Era: c. 1860-1870
- Buyer Notes: This brooch is what the antique jewelry dealing industry refers to as a ‘very important’ jewel; it is an extreme rarity on the open market, with very few comparables available for sale and most similar pieces in private collections, royal collections and in museum archives around the world. As such, this piece has been evaluated for its wondrous scarcity, its superb overall condition for its age and use, its precious gold and gemstone materiality, its magnificent hand-modeled, hand-fabricated, hand-painted and hand-finished origins, and its exceptional likeness to creations by masters of jewelry history. This pin, albeit petite, is an utterly fascinating treasure of the Mid Victorian period.
- Center Stone Type: Emerald
- Center Stone Count: Five (5)
- Center Stone Carat Weight: By formula per the specific gravity of emerald, approx. 0.034 ct (3 of the 5) + 0.036 ct (1 of the 5) + 0.044 ct (center emerald) = 0.182 ctw
- Center Stone Dimensions: 2.0 x 1.7 x 1.5 mm (3 of the 5); 2.1 x 1.7 x 1.5 mm (1 of the 5); 2.2 x 2.0 x 1.5 mm (center emerald)
- Center Stone Shape: Oval faceted to rectangular cushion faceted
- Center Stone Color: Bluish-green to strong bluish-green hue; light to medium tone; good to very good color
- Center Stone Clarity: Eye clean & translucent
- Side Stone Type: Ruby
- Side Stone Count: Four (4)
- Side Stone Carat Weight: By formula per the specific gravity of ruby, approx. 0.058 (2 of the 4) + 0.035 (1 of the 4) + 0.042 (1 of the 4) = 0.193 ctw
- Side Stone Dimensions: 2.2 x 1.8 x 1.5 mm (2 of the 4); 2.0 x 1.8 x 1 mm (1 of the 4); 2.0 x 1.8 x 1.2 mm (1 of the 4)
- Side Stone Shape: Oval faceted to rectangular cushion faceted
- Side Stone Color: Vivid purplish-red; medium tone; good to very good color
- Side Stone Clarity: Eye clean due to size; slightly included & translucent to semi-translucent
One of the most important jewels that we have ever had the privilege of presenting, this exquisite Mid Victorian brooch is one of a kind and maintains its striking artfulness in the Archeological Revival influence. Such revival styles date to the Georgian years of the 1820s and 1830s, and grew to peak popularity during the 1860s and 1870s. Yet, such styles continued to be in demand through the end of the 19th century and even into the first decade of the 20th. This trend was brought on by re-discoveries of the ancient world, and in the decorative arts, craftsmen drew deep inspiration from all of that was recovered during excavations.
This brooch appears to be similar to pieces crafted by Fortunato Pio Castellani, who is credited with being the true initiator of the Archeological Revival movements in jewelry. Together with his good friend and scholar Michaelango Caetani, Castellani studied ancient jewelry and began designing pieces that simulated ancient jewelry-work. Castellani & Sons gained international notoriety by the mid 19th century, and presented their ancient-inspired jewels at the 1861 National Italian Exhibition in Florence and at the second London International Exhibition of Industry and Art of 1862. The firm’s promotion of such Revival styles led the rest of the jewelry world to follow suit, and by the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris, practically all the jewelry on exhibit was Archeological in character.
It was at the London International Exhibition of Industry and Art of 1862 that many jewelers presented another variation of the Revival styles, which harkened to a slightly more recent past; Neo-Renaissance designs were en vogue and just as praised as the Etruscan Revival designs. A German subcategory of this Renaissance Revival, known as “Holbeinesque” jewelry, was directly adapted from the designs of Hans Holbein the Younger, who was the royal jewelry designer to King Henry VIII during the first part of the 16th century, as well as an accomplished court painter. Victorian jewelry artisans faithfully studied Holbein’s original compositions, paintings, and sketches, offering consumers an alternate perspective on the Revivals that were saturating the high fashion scene.
Characteristics of both Archeological (Etruscan) Revival and Renaissance (Holbeinesque) Revival style jewelry include a dependency on symmetry, allusions to organicism, the arrangement of featured gemstones into a cross shape, the use of colorful hand-enameling, and a tendency toward three-dimensionality of gold. Within all of the Revival styles that thenceforth evolved, a commonality amongst them all-- and perhaps their most distinctive aesthetic feature-- was the application of gold on gold to create designs rather than etching or carving away of gold. In essence, this new method of metalworking was additive rather than subtractive. Both the fundamental aesthetic characteristics and the structuring process mentioned have been masterfully utilized in the making of the brooch at hand.
This piece has incredibly intricate construction, which is showcased on the pin’s reverse, and recalls the ‘stippling’ that makes up the pin’s face. This construction system consists of hefty solid gold and hollowed globules: 12 large (approximately 4.6 mm in diameter) and 16 medium (approximately 3.0 mm in diameter). In addition, there are, of course, 9 gemstone prong settings (5 emeralds and 4 rubies) and an outermost decorative perimeter adorned with 16 beaded roundels. Altogether, this brooch is comprised of 53 total gold components that are expertly joined to create a sculptural appearance that is visually interesting from virtually all angles, and is a stunning show of both goldsmithing and engineering.
The brooch shows the classic Revival element of roped gold wirework, in which every single miniscule twist was executed by hand, and subsequently laboriously and manually applied to the jewel. In a similar procedure to cloisonné, the wirework is inset with creamy white, turquoise blue, and hunter green enameling. Some areas show ever so slight imperfection to the enamel, though this wear is not at all readily visible without significant magnification. The piece is further adorned with spherical golden beads throughout, adding a remarkable surface texture that catches the light in an arresting display. The nine cushion faceted gems featured were all cut by hand over 150 years ago, and show commensurate wear and nibbles to the edges, as shown. These emeralds and rubies stand proud of the enameled details, but falls flush with the gold beads that dot the brooch.
The Victorians are much beloved for their fondness of symbolism within the wearable arts. This brooch conveys several messages through its colors and stone choice: white enameling is indicative of purity and eternal youth, while paler blue enamels cite the “Forget-Me-Not” blossom, a symbol of loyalty and deep affection fortified by sentimentalism and memories. Dark green enamel speaks to growth, stability and endurance through all circumstances, and when paired with the former pair of colors, a story of true and prevailing love is told. Further, both emeralds and rubies are believed to be amulets of divine wisdom, though emeralds encourage spiritually-driven inward intuition while rubies recall Christ’s blood, and therefore, inspire physical healing and vitality.
Rich cultural history was being made as the wearable and decorative arts were revolutionized during the Mid Victorian years of the 19th century, and jewelry of the era wholly embodied all of these transformations while also heeding the robust past of European and ancient fine arts. This brooch exemplifies such an intriguing dichotomy, and its ethereal gravity compliments its material worth. It is a relic of an era of global change, one that still valued the hand fabricated, the scrutinizingly designed, and the artfully conceived. It is clear that the creator of this brooch designed it to be as beautiful in significance as it is for the eye to behold.
[Please read much more on the famed Archeological and Renaissance Revival jewelry designers and their creations in Geoffrey C. Munn’s “Castellani and Giuliano: Revivalist jewellers of the 19th century”, which is also an excellent resource for comparable examples and images. Munn is a jewelry expert who has long been a featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, has curated several exhibitions at prominent museums around the world, and is a distinguished author holding a multitude of appointed honors and British titles.]
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General Information: All additional jewelry boxes, ring boxes, and other jewelry items pictured alongside a featured listing are considered props, are for photographic and display purposes only and are not included in the transaction unless otherwise noted. Items do not come with physical documentation, appraisals, or certifications, unless explicitly stated in the item description and/or title. While jewelry is inspected upon procurement by the shop as well as prior to shipment, Revival Fine Jewelry cannot guarantee a warranty once items leave our inventory, given the delicate and individual nature of secondhand articles and the unaccountability of buyer handling post-purchase.
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Regarding Brooches & Pins: Often significantly and curiously undervalued jewelry items, brooches, pins and stick pins are treasured pieces of history in this shop. Accordingly, their pricing is calculated analogous to other fine jewelry, including their symbolic meaning, rarity and historical prestige. Such pieces are typically converted to other forms of jewelry, and are therefore becoming increasingly rare in their original states. Aside from being perfectly wearable as sophisticated lapel ornaments, brooches and pins of all kinds are prime candidates for many kinds of fine jewelry conversions, including rings, earrings, pendants, and charms, if so desired by the consumer post-purchase. Revival Fine Jewelry does not perform conversion projects for customers.
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Layaway is available for full priced, non-sale items priced $600.00 USD or greater, and items may not be combined to attain price-eligibility. Plans are offered as 3-month/90-day maximum terms.
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