Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel
Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel

BR474

Georgian 14k 0.36 CT Pearl Hand Engraved Floral Mourning Brooch for a Child with Vivid Blue and White Enamel

Regular price$1,150.00
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  • Unique find! Only 1 available.

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General Information:

  • Total Carat Weight: 0.36 ct
  • Precious Metal Weight: Approximately ~5.18 dwt
  • Precious Metal Material: Frame tests between 14-15k and clasp/reverse test 8-10k
  • Dimensions: 24.88 long x 21.39 wide x 6.87 deep (measured from the back of the rear bail loop and stem pin, to table/top of the glass glazing)
  • Weight: An impressive ~8.1 grams
  • Markings: The body of the brooch contains no purity marks or hallmarks, as is typical for a piece of this age. However, the stem pin has a tiny mark that reads “[T, I or J?] R & Co. 9 CT”, wherein the first letter has been obscured by time. This indicates that the closure system was replaced around 1870-1890, sometime before the turn of the century, at which point the open c-clasp was superseded by more advanced locking technology. The hand-engraved rear inscription reads “S S H” in capital Blackletter script (justified slightly left of center and sans punctuation) but besides this, the inscription bears no or any other identifying information.
  • Era: We are estimating that this brooch dates to the late Georgian to early Victorian period; specifically, we estimate it to date to the late Georgian years, sometime between 1780 and 1800 or so. However, without knowing an exact provenance, we cannot ascertain a more precise date range beyond what our years of collecting, dealing, learning and refining our expertise enable us to determine.
  • Buyer Notes: A fantastic relic of the long gone mourning traditions, this presumed late Georgian mourning brooch is a true rarity, with no exact comparables found on the open market at the time research was performed and the item was subsequently listed. Specifically, what makes this brooch so special is its tandem use of the vibrant sky blue and crisp white enameling atop an entirely handcrafted gauged geometric engraving. Prospective buyers should note that this piece does emit a light rattling when agitated, which is very likely miniscule bits of gold from the original crafting of the brooch, and is not a cause of concern. While the market is flooded with stunning mourning and sentimental pieces from this era, none bear quite the same patterning, coloration, size or engraving style/technique. This piece is impressive from all angles, and is a tangible reminder of lost social customs just as much as the young soul whom it venerates.

Specifications:

  • Center Stone Type: Pearl
  • Center Stone Count: One (1)
  • Center Stone Dimensions: 4 mm x 4 mm x 3 mm (approximate estimations, and measured within mounting to preserve the piece’s integrity)
  • Center Stone Carat Weight: Per the specific gravity of cultured pearls, 0.36 ct
  • Center Stone Shape: Very near round cultured pearl
  • Center Stone Color: White (true white, not cream or rose in hue)
  • Center Stone Clarity: Good luster

The Story:

An entirely one of a kind jewel, this 19th century mourning brooch is striking in color and heft. The front features a single proud pearl set in a pinched collet mounting, as well as hand etched metalwork topped with translucent, bright sky blue enameling. This gauged etchwork is something of a hand-fabricated precursor to the engine-turned guilloché of the turn of the 19th to 20th century. Prior to machine-turned etching, all such detailing was painstakingly completed by the hand of a skilled artisan. The translucence of the enamel is notable because it allows light to bounce in and out and ‘twinkle’ atop the gold metal beneath. Upon 90x magnification or higher, one can even see the tiniest seed bubbles of trapped air, remnants from the original painting process of this vivid blue enamel, and a most charming reminder of its handcrafted origins.

This blue focal point is elegantly emphasized with a narrow perimeter of opaque white enamel outlined in hand-punctuated metal that recalls simplified milgraining. White enamel was specifically reserved to indicate the passing of either an infant or small child, or an unmarried youth. As such, the presence of the band of white is a somber clue of the inferred young age of the mourned honoree. It is very likely that this piece was made custom for the mother or female sibling of the departed (though it was not unusual for gentlemen to also don jewels of this kind), for whom the first phase of mourning was socially expected to last at least one year.

Further celebrating the honoree is a robust outer halo of high relief, hand engraved florals and twisted garlands. This element gives the brooch an organic silhouette in perfect contrast to the geometricized design that spans the brooch’s face. In true 18th-19th century fashion, flowers were used as a language in and of themselves; the use of particular florals within jewelry would convey certain ideas or meanings to both the wearer and the viewer. This floral frame includes forget-me-nots, Scottish thistles, roses and acanthus blooms with cyma swirls.

The forget-me-nots reference loyalty that transcends the confines of time and circumstance, while the thistles symbolize fortitude and bravery. The roses illustrate admiration and devotion, and the acanthus represents perseverance. Acanthus plants have been utilized by numerous cultures over thousands of years to symbolize strength, as they are known to survive in even the harshest of conditions. With the presence of acanthus blooms, there is typically also the presence of cyma swirls. Cymas always reference the ebbs and flows of the unknowns and knowns of life, a subtle compliment to the unwavering strength of the acanthus through it all.

In harmony with the symbolism of the floral metalwork, the use of the airy, bright blue is especially captivating, as it is a youthful rendition of a trending jewelry style at the time: the use of either blue Bristol glass or deep, cobalt blue enameling as a beguiling allusion to the depth of the nighttime heavens. Rings of this nature-- which often were sizably created to span from knuckle to knuckle and embellished with diamond “stars” throughout-- were known as “Bagues au Firmament”, translating from French to mean “Rings of the Heavens”. They were popularized by Marie Antoinette as breakthroughs in astronomy illuminated the 18th century era, and influenced science, art, faith and garb.

The present brooch is a youthful take on this celestial movement reimagined as a memorial to a child snatched by premature death: the vibrancy of ultra-saturated Haint Blue suggests a Divine reclamation of the honoree in youth, their effervescence inspiriting the sky. The white border encompasses the blue heavens, a reminder that the lost are ever present, while a single bright white pearl is intended to represent a tear, the sole feature that forever binds the heavens, the child and the grief.

The reverse of the brooch is gently domed, and maintains its original tube hinge and open c-clasp closure, both characteristic of jewelry from this period. The reverse is engraved “S H H” in sizable, lovely Blackletter script, which boasts extremely fine linework. These intricate letters, alone, are worthy of utmost admiration. Though the initials lovingly preside over the brooch, no date or other details supplement the piece. While whomever young SHH was is no longer known, their memory is very much cherished through the enjoyment of this truly reverent jewel.

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