Total Carat Weight: 0.24 ctw
Precious Metal Weight: 1.41 dwt
Precious Metal Material: 14k yellow gold with a bloomed yellow gold finish (please read more about the blooming process below)
Dimensions: This pin measures 32.53 mm long x 10.30 mm wide x 9.81 mm deep including the stem to the reverse
Weight: 2.19 grams
Markings: The open c-clasp catch is stamped with 14K indicating the gold purity as well as the iconic Krementz & Co. maker's mark, a bifurcated cyma-like swirl that is a stylized derivative of the plumed knight helmets of the 16th century. A plume feature affixed to a helmet was called a panache, signified status and wealth, and was often in the color of the family's arms. In suit, another Krementz & Co. maker's mark was that of a "Square Eared Nicked Wedge" escutcheon (shield) topped with a plumed knight helmet flanked by a pair of medieval poleaxes. Across the escutcheon, a "bend" (diagonal banner) extends from Dexter Chief (upper right) down to Sinister Base (lower left) with the text, "Heraldic". Presumably, the notable Krementz & Co. mark we recognize most widely today is a simplified pictorial of the above. Krementz & Co. was founded in 1866 in Newark, New Jersey and shuttered by 2012.
Era: The stem length and scale, the open c-clasp closure, the blooming finish and hand-painted enameling, the imagery and its symbolism, and of course, the Krementz & Co. mark tells us that this pin dates to circa 1900, which is at the very end of the Victorian era as it transitioned into the Edwardian years.
Buyer Notes: While the market is flooded with lovely enameled Krementz pieces, and is especially packed with clover and shamrock motifs, this pin is strikingly unique amongst the many. Of special note is the symbolism that enhances this pin's outward beauty.
Center Stone Type: Semi-baroque pearls
Center Stone Count: Three (3)
Center Stone Dimensions and Carat Weights: One pearl is 2.03 x 2.36 mm = 0.07 ct, the center pearl is 2.60 x 3.20 mm = 0.115 ct, and the third pearl is 2.10 x 2.01 mm = 0.05 ct.
Center Stone Shape: Round to off-round; organic spheroids
Center Stone Color: White with cool-silvery orient
Center Stone Clarity: Opaque with very good to excellent luster
This little pin is a delightful example of the famed Krementz & Co. Art Nouveau aesthetic that is so beloved and highly collectible today. It is an artful tapestry of three elements thought to bring good fortune and blessing: the four leaf clover, the hops vine, and the crescent moon. Each element boasts its own symbolism, yet concurrently, they weave an even more expressive story of favor.
The Four Leaf Clovers: Both shamrocks and clovers are well known symbols for serendipitous blessing, and more specifically are recorded as symbols of loyalty and integrity, as well as amiability and fertility. Those with four leaves, however, are thought to possess and beckon ever greater fortunes and are distinctly associated with St. Patrick, a 4th-5th century British missionary who is said to have used the plant as a metaphor for the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Perhaps something of a spiritual extension of the Trinity's lovingkindness and guidance, shamrocks and clovers evolved into amulets of protection, guarding their wearers from harm and suffering, and bestowing upon them grace and honor instead. Being that this pin is decorated with a trio of these green beauties, the theological sacredness of the number three is amplified, the purity and humility of the pearls pushing the concept even further.
The Hops Vine: Whipping this way and that between the green enameled clovers are hops vines producing four cones. Hops has been an important component of European identity, and by the 8th century, was the preferred bittering additive to beer over the previous staples, which included juniper, dandelion, sage, broom, bog myrtle, yarrow, poppy, alehoof, ground ivy, mugwort, rosemary, wormwood, nettles, heather, wild carrot, horseradish, and wild bergamot, among others. Specifically within the Bavarian and Western Slavic regions, it was hops that quickly topped them all, as the plant offered the precise bitterness to balance the maltiness of the beverage. Both hops and beer have also been long used as medicinal agents throughout these regions, and their curative, therapeutic and preservative properties informed the vine's figurative association with protection, health, vitality and happiness. These became the well-wishes showered upon German, Czech, Polish, Slovakian brides throughout history. Indeed, Slavic tradition included the adorning of a bride's head with a crown of hops as a symbolic blessing as she entered her new married life. Without a doubt, the ornamental hops on this pin are a delicate homage to the Krementz family's German roots, and almost certainly represent the four aforementioned matrimonial well-wishes.
The Crescent Moon: Not to be missed, the clovers and hops are elegantly set upon a crescent backdrop. This form is softly sweeping, a whispering echo of the sinuous curves created by the pin's lush flora. While not as pronounced as other crescent moon jewelry of the same era, the celestial silhouette is absolutely intentional, itself conveying yet another layer to the jewel's storied meaning. 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.
Historically just as much as today, the shape is also very closely affiliated it with feminine energy and connectedness, and fertility and birth cycles. The crescent loosely became an early feminist symbol connoting the mystery and strength of the female. 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 amalgamated symbolisms that cascade from this pin bring this golden accessory to life when more fully understood. Like all antique jewelry, this piece is nothing short of a visual story, and is intended to be 'read' as so much more than just a pretty accent. This petite pin's profound meanings elevate its merit to one of significant power, reminding the wearer that undeserved fortune, familial abundance, steeped heritage, and genuine jubilance are gifts to be treasured and enjoyed.
About Bloomed Gold:
Enhancing the fob's appearance is its identifiably satiny, the effect of a bloomed gold finish. Blooming is a finishing technique applied to fine jewelry with its origins purported to be in 1853, and its popularity highest between the 1870s and 1890s. In the blooming process, the gold piece is dipped within a mix of muriatic acid, potassium nitrate, salt and water, causing the alloyed components of the gold compound to delicately burn away, leaving a very fine surface layer of pure (24k purity) karat gold. The burning procedure leaves micro-pitting in the surface of the piece, giving it its identifiably soft, subtle textural appearance. The texture achieved is an exceptionally bright, golden and of a matte quality, as pictured.
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