- Total Carat Weight: 1.26 ctw, inclusive of all pearls present
- Precious Metal Weight: Estimated 3.77 dwt
Precious Metal Material: This brooch tests between 14k and 18k gold depending on the component; the crowned heart has a yellow gold frame, the crescent moon has a yellow to greenish gold frame and the bowed stem pin is made of rose gold. These intriguing variances are most visible to the brooch’s reverse (please regard the photos).
Dimensions: Overall, this brooch measures 68.45 mm east to west (length) x 24.15 mm north to south (width) x 7.51 mm back to front including the stem pin (depth).
Weight: A very impressive and nicely weighted 5.86 grams
Markings: No formal markings appear to be present on this piece, though a hand-etched series of numbers can be seen along one side of the heart’s frame on its obverse, reading “23008”. This is likely a manufacturer’s number assigned to the heart alone (prior to its conversion and marriage to the crescent moon). This brooch was sold to the shop as entirely 14k, though our shop equipment places some components at 14k, some at 16k, some at 18k and others at higher karat contents and washes between 20-22k. As mentioned above, the golds are varied in chroma, ranging between buttery yellow gold, greenish yellow gold and warm rose gold. These may be best observed to the jewel’s reverse, where the golds are most exposed.
Era: We are estimating that this brooch dates to the late Victorian period to early Edwardian period; specifically, we estimate it to date to between 1890 and 1900. However, beyond what our years of collecting, dealing, learning and refining our expertise enable us to determine, we cannot ascertain a more precise date range than this without knowing an exact provenance.
Buyer Notes: This brooch is a stunning example of late Victorian to early Edwardian design, boasting extraordinary colors and a romantically whimsical treatment. Some pearls may have been replaced throughout the piece’s history, and the enamel work is hand-done and old, exhibiting areas of ever so slight imperfection and wear commensurate with its age and affectionate handling. The crescent’s domed back (the greenish gold portion) likewise shows some wear, as pictured. Because this brooch is an antique marriage of components, please note that it may be more fragile than a jewel that was originally molded as a single unit. The clasp securely opens and closes. This pin is certainly wearable as it is, though may also be a lovely conversion to a stationary necklace or double-bailed sliding pendant. A rare and truly superb find, this brooch is a time capsule of charm, symbolism and beauty.
Center Stone Type: Pearl
Center Stone Count: Twenty-eight (28)
Center Stone Dimensions and Corresponding Carat Weights: Pearls range in size from approximately 0.90 mm to approximately 2.50 mm and altogether total 1.26 ctw. The breakdown below has been professionally estimated by formula using the measured dimensions of the pearls as mounting permits and per the specific gravity of pearl:
- 1x 0.90 mm split pearl at 0.005 ct
- 1x 1.20 mm split pearl at 0.011 ct
- 2x 1.30 mm split pearl at 0.014 ct each
- 2x 1.40 mm split pearl at 0.016 ct each
- 5x 1.50 mm split pearl at 0.018 ct each
- 1x 1.65 mm split pearl at 0.022 ct
- 2x 1.70 mm split pearl at 0.026 ct each
- 2x 1.90 mm split pearl at 0.032 ct each
- 1x 2.00 mm split pearl at 0.036 ct
- 1x 2.00 mm whole pearl at 0.061 ct
- 2x 2.10 mm split pearl at 0.043 ct each
- 2x 2.20 mm whole pearl at 0.081 ct each
- 1x 2.35 mm split pearl at 0.055 ct
- 3x 2.40 mm whole pearl at 0.106 ct each
- 2x 2.50 mm whole pearl at 0.119 ct each
- Center Stone Shape: Split (halved) to whole (full)
Center Stone Color: White to cream, with some orient and blueish-gray and subtle peachy overtones
Center Stone Clarity: Good to very good luster
A truly stunning jewel steeped in style and symbolism, this antique brooch features a crowned central heart pierced through its center by a horizontally set crescent moon that faces upward. This piece appears to have been a historic marriage of the two jewelry components, masterfully joined together to create the fantastical imagery at present. Though this conversion was created long before this brooch entered our shop, its completed state is joyful, meaningful and an exciting twist on two ever beloved forms, both deeply symbolic in their own rights.
The heart component is in the style of the Scottish Luckenbooth Heart, otherwise colloquially described as a ‘Witch’s Heart’, recognized by the curled tail where both halves come to a point at the shape’s base. The heart is adorned with a coronet, which elevates its meaning to an even more profound message. The Luckenbooth Heart’s name translates from the term ‘lock-up booth’, referring to the market booths lining the Edinburgh Royal Mile, near Saint Giles Cathedral in High Street, from which buyers and sellers engaged in the trade of small novelties and trifles. From the 15th-18th centuries onward, one could purchase jewelry bearing this heart shape from such booths, historically bestowed as emblems of betrothal and likewise believed to protect newborns and nursing mothers against both the Evil Eye and witches seeking to harm the innocence of new birth and the sanctity of early motherhood’s life-giving milk.
The Luckenbooth is traditionally identified as having either a single or a double and entwined pair of hearts, and with the inclusion of the crown, while the Witch’s Heart is typically seen as a single heart and may or may not have a crown included. Even so, their meanings are quite similar and, indeed, related. The symbols are thought to have talismanic qualities, their safeguarding of the purity of amorous and maternal affections synonymous with the divinity and mighty power of love. The five-pointed crown is one associated with the peerage ranking of Earl, of the Old English word ‘eorl’ bearing the meaning of born noble, warrior and poet hero. The implementation of five points holds just as much purpose, as it is the number relating to love, marriage, loyalty and adaptability. Biblically, it is described as a number representing divine ‘grace upon grace’, an invitation of ceaseless mercy that can only come from the heart and character of God.
Regarding the crescent shape, more symbolism is revealed. Crescent moons emerged as popular motifs during the Mid to Late Victorian period, influenced by broader world travel of the rising middle class which extended from the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Such increased trade and tourism with Africa and the Middle East included sites and regions in Egypt, Sudan, Marrakesh, Algeria, Tunisia, Israel, Istanbul, Turkey and others. Victorians brought home souvenirs, new emblematic interests and connections, design influences and ideas. The crescent moon shape is one such cultural, holy and political emblem, and is a stylized rendition of the waning moon.
The Victorians also affiliated it with feminine energy and connectedness, fertility and birth cycles, something of an early feminist symbol as it connoting the mystery and strength of the femme and the woman. Crescents express the ephemerality of life through its foreseen and unforeseen ebbs and flows; it reminds the wearer of life’s fragility while also encouraging the life-giving relationship with the Divine, as the cyclical nature of life is, itself, a story of ceaseless and promised redemption. The crescent shape is believed to be a nurturing and watchful eye, a motherly protective agent for its wearer, with ancient and cross-cultural roots.
The meaning does not stop with the silhouettes herein, as the enameling carries its own significance that enhances the brooch’s overall understanding. This patterning is associated with the good and the bad in life, the events and circumstances that cannot be controlled or determined, but which require confrontation and engagement in whatever capacity. The good must be met with grateful joy and the bad with perseverance and hope. In tandem, the background color of the enamel-work is periwinkle blue, specifically a hue of blue rather than violet, which reminds one of the Forget-Me-Not flower. Forget-Me-Nots, also known as both Scorpion-Grass and Myosotis, are found throughout the UK and convey a romantic plea of remembrance between separated lovers. They have been affiliated with the sublime passion that anchors deep human connection, and are devotions of fidelity, respect and ardent tenderness.
Together, these symbolisms render the meaning of the crescent-pierced heart as an infinite connection between the divine, the feminine and human love. This piece is imbued with spiritual, sensuous and self affection, and reminds us of the holiness of these interconnected loves, and the fortitude they inspire of each other. This brooch is as compelling in its embodied significance as it is in its aesthetic elegance.
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