- Total Carat Weight: 0.389 ctw
- Precious Metal Weight: 4.55 dwt
- Precious Metal Material: 10k rosy to yellow gold; crescent moon brooches have bloomed gold finish (read more about this process below)
- Dimensions: The first stick pin measures 58.97 mm long overall, the trident head of which measures 8.36 mm long x 4.78 mm wide x 6.14 mm deep, and the appended crescent moon brooch measures 15.46 mm long x 14.89 mm wide x 5.87 mm deep. The second stick pin measures 56.29 mm long overall, the trident head of which measures 8.62 mm long x 5.07 mm wide x 6.31 mm deep, and the appended crescent moon brooch measures 14.74 mm long x 16.53 mm wide x 6.87 mm deep.
- Weight: One pin/brooch is a weighty 3.46 grams, while the other is a comparable 3.63 grams. Together, the pair totals an impressive 7.09 grams
- Markings: The reverse of one brooch reads "L.M.R. 1515 ΘΞ PCHCO. 10k", indicating the initials of the pledge, their initiation number at the Theta Xi chapter, which is the University of Southern California, believed to have been chartered sometime between 1920-1921, as well as the maker and gold content. The reverse of the second brooch reads "Barbara Christine Stalkick ΘΗ 780 10k [illegible maker's mark(s)]", indicating the pledge's full name, the Theta Eta chapter which is at the University of Wyoming, believed to have been chartered around 1911, as well as the pledge's initiation number and the gold content of the piece.
- Era: The first piece is believed to date to between the 1940s and 1950s, while the second piece is believed to date to circa 1963-1964, per genealogical research of the name engraved on the brooch. However, without knowing both piece's exact provenances, more precise date ranges cannot be ascertained.
- Buyer Notes: Please note that the locking mechanism on the clasp of one of the brooches is somewhat loose.
- Center Stone Type: Cultured Pearl
- Center Stone Count: Eight (8)
- Center Stone Dimensions and carat weights:
- 1 pearl is 1.70 mm and is an estimated 0.038 ct
- 1 pearl is 1.80 mm and is an estimated 0.045 ct
- 3 pearls are 2.00 mm and are each an estimated 0.061 ct
- 3 pearls are 1.75 mm and are each an estimated 0.041 ct
- Center Stone Shape: Whole/spheroid
- Center Stone Color: White to cream
- Center Stone Clarity: Opaque with warm silvery to rose orient and good to excellent luster
Originally jewels belonging to two different women in two different eras in two different states, these combination stick pin/brooches are now offered as a matched pair. These pieces are the official fraternal jewelry of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority, commonly known as Tri Delta (ΔΔΔ). Tri Delta was originally founded in 1888 at Boston University by a young woman named Sarah Ida Shaw, with the help of her three friends Eleanor Dorcas Pond, Florence Isabelle Stewart and Isabel Morgan Breed. Tri Delta would be the fourth sorority chartered to the school's campus, and the ladies who spearheaded its conception sought to create an organization that proudly lauded the character and integrity of women more than their outward appearances. Sarah Shaw and Eleanor Pond worked together to write the sorority's constitution and design its symbology. A true figure of her time, Shaw's inspiration arose from the archeological revivalism spreading throughout the western world, thus influencing the celestial and mythological emblems of the moon, stars and trident.
The official badge of Tri Delta consisted of a 360° round golden crescent moon cupping a trio of five-pointed gold stars, the crescent bearing three black deltas and the stars encrusted with gleaming pearls. The stick pin component was, itself, worn by new members to represent their first degree of initiation. The crescent component was given next, and both were worn together and overlapped, the stick pin 'intersecting' the brooch at an angle and acting as a badge guard. These ornaments exude history and secrecy, and while their fraternal meaning and function relays specific membership status, the trident, crescent moon and star emblems boast loads of socio-cultural and fantastical meaning apart from the Tri Delta organization:
The triangle is considered a holy form, signifying divine balance and sacred order. The shape has long been associated with many ancient cultures and religious bodies, from the Great Pyramids to the Christian Triune. Mathematically, the delta shape symbolizes an increment of change, and geologically, indicates a triangular deposit of sediment formed by moving waters. Indeed, these seemingly disparate definitions all point toward a sublime and sacrosanct adjustment toward stability, toward truer alignment.
The rise in popularity of celestial jewels in Europe and the United States actually began in the 18th century with the fury of excitement surrounding Halley’s Comet. The story of Halley’s Comet jewelry is legendary in the world of jewelry collecting: in the first few years of the 1700s, English astronomer Edmond Halley speculated that the two dozen comets that had swept past the earth between 1337-1698 were actually a single comet, one that he predicted would make its next visible journey in 1758. Although the astronomer did not live to see it, his prediction was correct. Halley’s Comet was then proven to make an appearance every 75 years. In suit, the decorative and wearable arts industries were keen to celebrate this incredible discovery with the production of handcrafted jewels designed to mirror the dynamism of the comet’s streak and sparkling blaze. It was not long before the Halley's Comet motif evolved into a broader adoration of star-themed jewelry, including five pointed stars as portrayed in the Tri Delta pins.
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.
Depending on the jewel, pearls can symbolize the tears shed over lost love or life. However, they are also symbols of purity and the gift of redemption. When mounted in celestially-themed jewelry, pearls are often designed to recall the lustrous stars of the heavens and the reliable, steadfast, cyclic nature of stars' emergence every night. While this pair did not begin life as a duo, they are a wonderfully matched pair that may be worn and enjoyed as they exist in their brooch forms, or may be converted into earrings, rings, charms, pendants, or any combination or type of jewel so desired.
About Bloomed Gold:
Enhancing both crescent brooches' appearances are their matching 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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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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