Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket
Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket

BR482

Victorian 14k 4.79 CT Turquoise and Black Enamel 15g Mourning Brooch with Rear Glass Locket

Regular price$1,300.00
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General Information:

  • Total Carat Weight: 4.79 ct
  • Precious Metal Material: 14k buttery yellow gold
  • Precious Metal Weight: Estimated ~9.45 dwt
  • Dimensions: This brooch measures 42.22 mm long, 34.62 mm wide and 14.17 mm deep, measured from pin to top of turquoise. The locket opening is 31.84 mm long x 24.11 mm wide x ~2.75 mm deep. The gold tube/cylinder in which the original hinge once attached may be used to loop a gold jump ring if so desired, so as to wear as a pendant. This loop’s interior diameter is approximately 0.70-0.90, and should fit roughly 20-22 gauge. It is best to have this evaluated and performed by your preferred jeweler post-purchase.
  • Weight: An extraordinarily weighty 15.04 grams
  • Markings: This piece is not marked, but is tested and verified as 14k yellow gold.
  • Era: This brooch is believed to hail from the mid Victorian years, circa 1860. Beyond what our years of collecting, dealing, learning and refining our expertise enable us to determine, we cannot ascertain a more precise date range or history than this without knowledge of the piece’s exact provenance. Although evidence shows that this piece was originally created as a bracelet or necklace box tab clasp closure, it also shows that it was converted to a brooch sometime between 1870-1880 or so. 
  • Buyer Notes: This brooch's body is fabricated in yellow gold, mounted with a single turquoise and finished with hand painted black enameling. This enameling gives the brooch the appearance of being made of onyx or jet. There are two areas of wear and chipping to the enamel, which are across from one another on the tube hinge end of the brooch. Neither of these areas are visible from the front of the piece, and both are largely visually camouflaged to the eye due to the nature of the color black, which blurs and flattens depth. Their presence, along with light abrasions and scratching, are perfectly commensurate with the piece’s 160+ year age and its inherent affectionate use, though is worth noting. The price has been fairly set to reflect all described characteristics, including the piece’s historic rarity, heft and collector desirability. 

Specifications:

  • Center Stone Type: Turquoise
  • Center Stone Count: One (1)
  • Center Stone Dimensions: 12.40 x 10.01 x 5.10 mm
  • Center Stone Carat Weight: Between 4.23 ct and 5.35 ct, for an average of 4.79 ct; this is a professional estimation by formula per the specific gravity of turquoise
  • Center Stone Shape: Oval Cabochon Cut
  • Center Stone Color: Robin’s Egg Blue (likely what is known as a Persian turquoise)
  • Center Stone Clarity: Very, very subtle natural inclusions, which are polished out and not tactile when felt, but simply appear as faint speckles on the outer edges of the stone. Please see the photos for reference.

The Story:

A classic Victorian accessory, this mourning brooch is fabricated in 14k yellow gold and centers a sizable turquoise cabochon mounted within a dome of thick black enamel. This piece was crafted with such enameling as an alternative to onyx, bog oak and French jet, all of which were acceptable materials for ladies’ mourning jewelry to be worn during the Second Stage of Mourning. The Second Stage of Mourning, also described as the Ordinary Stage, followed the First (also known as Full) and was succeeded by the Third (also known as Half), and adhered to the following social dictates:

Second and Ordinary Mourning (depending on the departed’s relation, lasted three to six months) was characterized by the allowance of both black and white jewelry to be worn, as well as the introduction of new textures into the griever’s wardrobe, including black feathers and other like garnishes, as well as white linen trimmings, hemlines and fringes, white linen gloves, fichus, tippets and neck scarves. Jewelry was sometimes enameled in such dual tonalities, and semi-lustrous, somewhat glossy materials, including pearls, damasks and subdued guillochés were also acceptable. The use of jet (sometimes in combination with cut steel) was notably permitted (jet is a mineraloid gemstone that is actually a form of lignite (coal), wherein wood has transformed under pressure into a new, carvable and lightweight substance). By adding fresh, albeit limited, ‘colors’ and elements into this second stage signified a healthy progression through the grieving process of a loved one.

This brooch fits the bill for this stage’s allowances perfectly, as it bears a semi-gloss black enamel finish, complete with extremely delicate, extremely minimal detailing, and the use of a single color, the turquoise. As an adornment to jewelry of affection, turquoise grew to be prolific after Queen Victoria gifted her twelve bridesmaids turquoise brooches that bore the emblem of her Prince’s family. Indeed, the queen was a top trend-setter of the age, and even her eventual decades-long mourning over the loss of Prince Albert paved the way for the social structure and duty to outwardly mourn loss. Turquoise’s iconic color is associated with the hue of the Forget-Me-Not flower, a bloom which--true to its name-- was popular within sentimental and mourning jewelry during the Georgian and Victorian eras. The Forget-Me-Not was traditionally exchanged between lovers separated by distance and unavoidable circumstances, gifted in humble reassurance of fidelity and respect. The Turquoise’s representation of the Forget-Me-Not symbolism presents this piece as a message of loyal longing of a loved one lost.

Encircling the turquoise are two concentric engraved ovals that show a dotted engraved detail. This pair represents the two hearts affected by the loss: the wearer and the departed. While the body of this brooch is gold, these ornamental ovals are the only bits of gold visible from the front of the brooch when worn. Though, in profile from all angles, an outermost band of gold can be seen, as this is the framework for the rear construction. The back of the brooch reveals a glass-front locket compartment, which is currently devoid of keepsakes. One can see that the piece has been enameled on the inside wall of the locket, a most unusual feature. This interior enameling is textured and imperfect, but covers the interior gold entirely, save for the mounting mechanism of the turquoise in the very center.

The brooch has a tube hinge and open c-clasp closure spanning the length of the brooch. On the piece’s opposite edges, a dainty gold cylinder (drilled with a 0.70-0.90 mm hole) and a slim slit are clues to the piece’s history, as these indicate that the brooch itself once served as a box tab closure clasp on a hefty bracelet or necklace. It was converted to a standalone brooch at some point in its history, and judging by the technology of the brooch’s c-clasp and the pin stem length, we know that this conversion occurred before 1900, and likely sometime around 1870-1880. Such evolutions of jewels was quite common as pieces were passed down from one generation to the next, taking on the most fashionable forms over time, and as mourning pieces were ‘recycled’ in homage to the newly deceased.

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