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Victorian Jewelry

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Item: Description: Price:


  ROYAL PRINCE ( Antique Victorian Portrait Miniature Pendant ): What a precious picture! I purchased this at the NY Triple Pier Show many years ago from one of the premier Portrait Miniature dealers. Miniatures were very popular in the 1800's before photography took over. This young lad (c. 1880-90) was from the collection of the 4th Duchess of Kent – Princess Marina (1906-68). You can see it is signed “A. Alaux”. Alexander Alaux was born in France in 1851. His family emigrated to New Orleans in 1855. He studied art and was considered a progeny as a miniaturist, winning several medals as a teen. In order to improve his skills he moved to Brussels in the late 1860's and attended the Acadamie Royale des Beaux Arts. He became a favorite of Leopold II from whom he received a Gold Medal. The quality of the painting of this miniature is amazing. Unless you use a loop it looks like a photograph. Judging from this boy's attire he is a member of a royal family. I'd like to think he was the son of King Leopold but the dealer did not know his identity – and if she had I could not have afforded it! Another factor that made it more affordable is that the celluloid covered compartment on the back should have contained a lock of his hair, but it is empty. The painting itself is well protected by a celluloid cover. Please note the gorgeous frame in the close-ups, made up of engraved flowers and foliage. Because the surface areas are gold and the deeper areas black I think it is “rolled gold”, a layer of gold over silver or some other metal. The decorated bale is of the same metal. I truly hope someone will adopt and love this young boy, as I have.

Condition: Excellent. Chain not included.
Size: 3 1/4” high including bale. Not including bale 2 3/4” high, 2 1/4” wide, 3/8” deep.



  TORTOISESHELL WOLF ( Antique Victorian Tortoiseshell Necklace ): Victorian artisans loved working with tortoiseshell since it could be melted and then molded or carved into almost any creation desired. It is possible, or even likely, that this tortoiseshell chain link necklace (c. 1870-80) with the fierce Wolf Head Pendant was made for a man to wear. Wolves were a common heraldic symbol. Besides being fierce, wolves were considered noble and courageous. We have taken photos of all four sides of the wolf's head so you can fully appreciate its detailed carving and taken translucent photos so you can appreciate the full beauty of the tortoiseshell. The chain link necklace is gradated in size and has a hook closure. Notice that every other link has a flat edge that lies against your neck. This necklace would be a jewel in any collection of Victorian Tortoiseshell Jewelry.

Condition: Excellent. There are a few chips on the underside of the rear links that do not show when worn. (see photo)
Size: Full length of pendant 4 1/4”. Wolf head portion 2” high, 1 1/2” wide, 1” deep. Chain 15” long.



  GREAT RAJ TROPHY ( Antique Victorian Tiger Claw Brooch / Pin ): This is one of the largest and most stunning examples of a “Raj” Antique Tiger Claw Brooch that I have had the pleasure of handling. (c.1870-80) In 1876 Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. That British period of rule, from 1858 until 1947, has come to be known as the British Raj and it has gifted us with an exotic legacy – the style of jewelry known as Raj. The “Great White Hunters” made their mark on fashion by sending home claws and teeth set in gold as mementos of their hunting expertise. At that time there was no concern that the seemingly endless supply of birds and animals would ever become endangered. It has an elaborate 14 KT gold cap with a decorated sheath extending down the front edge of the claw to a decorated band across the tip. Five differently shaped engraved leaves hang down from cap. It is exceptionally lovely. It has its original C clasp closure. The Tiger Claw would be a Great Raj Trophy for any collection of Tiger claws or of Victorian Jewelry.

Condition: Excellent. Some natural drying of claw.
Size: 1 3/4” high, 2” wide to tip, gold top 1/4” deep.



  AMETHYST RING ( Antique Victorian Amethyst and Gold Ring ): Both a beautiful Amethyst Stone and a beautiful Gold Ring. (c. 1890-1900) Amethysts have had several meanings down through history, but always highly valued. The ancient Greeks thought it would inhibit intoxication and it translates as “not drunken”. As a symbol and color of royalty it has always had a prominent place on crowns, scepters and rings. To the ancient Christians it symbolized allegiance to Christ. The Chinese felt it would increase wealth and it has always been felt to have healing properties – removing stress and anxiety. The 14 KT gold band, decorated with black enamel, holds the large amethyst by six prongs. The underside of the stone is multi-faceted causing it to gleam in the light. The front flat surface is decorated by a gold twig with five leaves. In the center of each leaf is a tiny faceted clear crystal. Amazing workmanship! Ring size 6 3/4. Though an antique it can beautifully enhance almost anything you may wish to wear on an evening out – and draw many compliments.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: Crown 3/4” long, 1/2” wide, 3/8” deep. Band tapers from 3/8” to 1/8” in back. Ring size 6 3/4.



  PUG PERFUME BOTTLE ( Antique Victorian Pug Enamel on Sterling Silver Perfume Bottle Pendant and Neck Wire ): In Victorian days good hygiene was difficult to acquire so women of the day commonly carried small vials of perfume. And for dog-loving English women what better way to show your affection for your family pug than to have her likeness created in enamel and placed on your Sterling Silver Perfume Bottle (c. 1880) to wear it as a necklace. I say “her” because she resembles our beloved pug, Jade, whose photo I have included. The neckwire, which just fits the opening in the cap which serves as the bale, is included but you can replace it with a chain if preferred. There are a number of those wonderful 19th Century English markings on both the cap and the screw of the bottle. Most are too worn to read but I can see “S.M” in a rectangle which matches the 1880 hallmark of the London Silversmith “Sampson Mordon & Company” and I think the mark following it is the legs of the “Lion Passant” indicating 925 or Sterling Silver. I can also read “P” which is probably the date. The wear indicates that this perfume bottle was not just used for show but actually used by her owner. Incidentally, we consider “warm pug smell” to be a wonderful scent. A great item for either a collector of Victorian Jewelry or a collector of Pugs.

Condition: Excellent. A few tiny dents on the back.
Size: 2 7/8” high, 1 1/2” wide, 7/8” deep.



  LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY PENDANT ( Antique Victorian Bone Floral Swivel Locket / Pendant ): Victorian Romanticism found its perfect expression in carved ivory floral motifs. These flowers are Lily-of-the-Valley. Besides being the Birthday Flower of May, in the Victorian Language of Flowers they stand for sweetness, purity and humility – or “you have made my life complete”. It is said that Mary's tears turned into Lily-of-the-Valley at the foot of the Cross and they are sometimes called “Mary's Tears”. The quality of this Antique Floral Ivory Swivel Locket (c. 1880) is remarkable – and it is also remarkable that it has survived intact. We have taken all four side views to show you the amazing carving with vines and blossoms floating above the rest of the locket. The locket cover swings open to either side to reveal the hidden chamber beneath which could easily contain a photo of a loved one. It has a large bone bale so it can hang from either a chain or a necklace of small beads. Our manikin, Alyssa, models it so you can see how lovely it would look around your neck. This would make a wonderful birthday gift for that special woman - you. Hint! Hint!

Condition: Excellent. No broken tips.
Size: Length including bale 2 3/4”, width 1 1/2”, depth 3/4”.



  PEACOCK EYE PURSE ( Antique “Peacock Eye” Coin Purse and Watch Pin / Pendant ): My husband has always been gratified that I prefer man-made jewels, such as the beautiful “Peacock Eyes”, to precious jewels. Peacock Eye Jewelry, popular during the British Arts and Crafts Movement and the French Art Nouveau Period, was a perfect fit – inexpensive gemstones, “whiplash” curves, motifs taken from nature and the Japanese influence. These brilliantly colored glass stones were hand made of blue and green foil made to resemble the center or “eye” of a peacock tail feather. This is the first “Peacock Eye” Purse I have seen. (c. 1918-25) It is a small gold chain-mesh coin purse topped by a large Peacock Eye Jewel surrounded by 20 gleaming Rhinestones – or maybe diamonds – I didn't check. The purse hangs by a chain from a gold Art Nouveau Watch Pin decorated by a small Peacock Eye. I wore this as a pendant, rather than a pin. You can see how the watch pin is easily converted to a bale in the back view. Alyssa shows off its beauty when worn as a pendant.

Condition: Excellent. No stones or links missing.
Size: Total length 4 1/2”. Purse 2” long, 1” wide, 1/2” deep. Watch pin 7/8” high, 7/8” wide.



  TROPICAL POOLS OF LIGHT ( Vintage “Pools of Light” Crystal Pendant ): I love the story behind the lovely “Pools of Light” Jewelry of the 1920's. It is believed that the source of these crystals is the northern slope of Mount Fujiyama in Japan. They are a product of springtime eruptions. The crystals then find their way into the stream beds where, over the years, they are polished as they journey over pebbles into the foothill river beds. Finally they were polished to perfection in the lapidary shops of Kofu. Traditionally they have been treasured – especially by the Chinese who believe that good luck resides in the inner recesses of these orbs. “Pools” were never drilled because it was believed that drilling allowed the good luck to pour out of the crystal. The supply of these wonderful crystals seemed to exhaust itself in the 1930’s. This delicate pendant has unusually complex Sterling Silver decorations covering the larger crystal. It consists of tropical foliage and two birds. The two sides are not mirror images. One bird flies upward and the other downward and the foliage is also different. It is difficult to capture the beauty of these crystals in a photo. Our first photo is translucent to show the clarity of the spheres. We then photographed all four sides on both black and white. We have Alyssa modeling it for you. The delicate silver chain necklace is included. It is quite long (pulled up in photo) so you may wish to change it. A rare beauty!

Condition: Excellent. Chain included.
Size: Chain is 32” long. Lower crystal 5/8” in diameter, upper one 7/16” in diameter.



  BANDED AGATE BRACELET ( Antique Victorian Banded Agate Gold Bracelet ): The Victorian Scots loved Banded Agate and so did Queen Victoria. She popularized Scottish Jewelry during her reign. This bracelet is just beautiful to the eye. The seven pairs of teardrop shaped banded agates surround the bracelet with fancy staffs of gold in between. Each pair of agates is connected by 14 KT fine gold leaves and various sized gold orbs with fancy collars. It has a tongue and groove closure. The piece with the groove is deeper with fancier decorations. You will notice there is a gap in those decorations in the area you put your finger to open the latch. I believe they were broken off, probably while opening the latch. This minor defect does not detract from the beauty of this magnificent bracelet. Add the Scottish Beauty to your collection.

Condition: Very good. Small area of gold decoration missing.
Size: 7” long, 1 3/4” - 1 7/8” wide, 3/16” deep. Fits a medium wrist.



  ENGLISH FAIRY PICTURE ( Antique English Fairy Picture ): I have always been enchanted by the English Saga surrounding Fairy Pictures – so I purchased one. Two young English sisters in 1917 photographed Fairies along a lovely stream behind their house where their brother, killed in WW I, had built a Fairy House. Their photos became a national sensation, studied by all the experts of the time – and pronounced genuine! This was a time when Spiritualism was popular. Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and a physician, was a believer in Spiritualism and strong supporter of the Fairy Pictures. His good friend Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist, was a non-believer of both. After a few years the sisters confessed that the fairies were just painted paper cut-outs posed in foliage. In this picture the fairy, her wings and the other black areas are painted on the back side of the glass cover. I believe the flowers are real pressed flowers blossoms with some of those along the bottom covered in gold fairy dust. In studying the gleaming background with a loop, it looks like shiny fine light blond hair. It is magical looking! The brown paper on the back of the wood framed picture is falling apart but could easily be replaced. OK! Let's everybody say it: “I believe in Fairies!”

Condition: The picture itself is in excellent condition. Brown paper on back bad condition.
Size: Picture without frame 4 3/4” square, with frame 5 1/2” square, 1/2” deep.



THE ROMAN FORUM ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Micro-Mosaic Brooch / Pin ): This splendid brooch is a fusion of the old with the new. I have had it for years and wanted to give the Victorian micro-mosaic a fresh look. The center piece is, of course, an antique depiction of the Roman Forum, referred to as “the most celebrated meeting place in the world”. Today it is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments. A popular tourist destination, the Victorian shoppers loved to take home a memento – often in the form of a micro-mosaic. I always gaze in amazement at these diminutive works of art. Made of tiny glass pieces, the minuscule shards of glass blend together to form a complex and subtle scene of great artistry. This exquisite brooch (c. 1860-70) is a perfect example of classical revival styling. I chose to have this study of architectural fragments accented by the addition of a two level scene of stylized workers. These miniature workers, executed in 14 KT gold, are at work restoring the fragmented pieces of columns, bases and cornices to their original state. I just love the result of this fusion of past and present created by a creative Master Jeweler. One of a kind – remarkable!

Condition: Excellent. Safety clasp closure. A few tiny pieces are missing.
Size: Micro-mosaic is 1 3/4” wide, 1 3/8” high, 1/4” deep. Full pin 3 1/8” high, 3” wide.





THE FASCINATION OF GLITTERING CUT STEEL ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Cut Steel Brooch / Pin ): This glimmering Victorian Cut Steel Brooch (c. 1860-70) is made from a combination of the usual round faceted steel studs and the less common elliptically shaped steel studs. (These studs have five facets.) These latter are used to make what looks like a wreath surrounding a large 3-dimensional floral blossom. In between the “leaves” of the wreath are tiny blossoms at the top, bottom and both sides. There are multiple free swinging dangles from the bottom of the wreath ending in three bladed leaves with a small dangling blossom in the center. The backing is low grade silver, rather than the usual brass. It has a C clasp closure. Typically, these brilliant brooches were worn at the “V” décolletage of the gown or pinned to a velvet ribbon around the neck for a superb look.

Condition: Excellent. No missing studs. No rust.
Size: Total length 3”, 1 1/2” wide, 1/4” deep.





HIGHLAND STAG ( Antique Victorian Scottish Jewelry Stag Brooch / Pin ): Agate jewelry owes its popularity to the unbridled enthusiasm for all things Scottish that swept England in the mid-1800's. There was an awakening interest in naturalism and a renewed fascination with Medieval Romanticism. Picturesque Scotland became the embodiment of those interests. Queen Victoria's love affair with Scotland was well publicized. Following her lead, it was not long before her loyal subjects made Scotland a major tourist attraction – and the souvenirs most desired were Scottish “Jewels”. This Sterling Silver Circular Brooch is an ornate example of a fine piece of the coveted jewelry. (c. 1870-90) The subject is a graceful mature Stag with a large rack of antlers. The British and Scots were were avid hunters and I believe this was made for a gentleman hunter to present to his lady. The Stag is caught in mid-air, backed by oak leaves and bearing a Stag's tooth at its center held by the oak leaf cluster. Agates of jasper and bloodstone provide color for the engraved outer circle. It bears the original C clasp closure. A splendid Scottish Brooch full of the character and mystery of the highlands.

Condition: Excellent. No cracked or missing stones.
Size: 2” in diameter, 1/4” deep.





A WREATH OF HAPPINESS ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Bone Hand Brooch / Pin ): Hands were used extensively in Victorian jewelry. The message was conveyed by what the hand was holding. I have seen many of these “Hand” brooches, but never tire of their striking beauty. The workmanship on this delicate piece is exquisite – it could only have been done in Dieppe, France. The entire brooch is hand carved from bone and has a soft, silky patina. (c. 1870-90) A dainty hand clasps a wreath of lily of the valley. In the Victorian “language of flowers” the floral message reads “return to happiness, purity and humility”. Sometimes referred to as “the tears of the Virgin Mary”, these blossoms are one of the early signs that spring has returned once again. The slender fingers are carved in minute detail as they present the wreath of tiny bell-like blossoms. Notice the tiny beaded bracelet on the wrist – only a master carver could produce such precise work. The back retains the original C clasp closure. A perfect gift of love or friendship. Best of all, a timeless gift of history to give to yourself – and don't forget to pass it on!

Condition: Excellent. (Box is not included.)
Size: 1 3/4” long, 1” wide, 1/4” deep.





ICONIC SYMBOL OF LUCK ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Niello Horseshoe Brooch / Pin ): I have recently become attracted to the silver and dark gray metallic inlay called “Niello”. This technique was usually employed to create very elegant restrained designs - often geometric patterns, stripes or squares such as illustrated in this wonderful Victorian Horseshoe Brooch. (c. 1900) Niello is an ancient Russian technique for decorating silver. The design was engraved on the silver, the engraved recesses were filled with a grayish-black alloy of silver, copper, lead and sulfur – then fired and polished smooth. Nothing has a luster like Niello or displays its ethereal glow. This iconic symbol of luck is especially extravagant with the addition of a Rose Gold wash over the front of the pin including the studs and curved triangular fitting at the base. The original pin back has a wide C clasp closure, covering the tip of the pin. Be certain to wear the horseshoe in a “up” position to ensure that the luck contained within does not spill out! This unusual version of Niello work is both sophisticated and chic. Stylish for day or night, denim or velvet – always a scene stealer!

Condition: Excellent.
Size:1 3/4” high, 1 1/2” wide, 1/8” deep.




WINGS OF LOVE ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Angel Skin Coral Bird Brooch / Pin ): One of the main points of Victorian Romanticism to look for is the use of birds and flowers as an expression of love. Romantic messages were conveyed through an elaborate system of symbolic tokens. Birds in flight represented the “winged” soul. This glorious White Dove Pendant, made of Angel Skin Coral, carries a golden envelope around his neck – no doubt a message of love or friendship - “my love flies to you”. (c. 1880-95) Exquisitely hand-carved, this feathered messenger clearly shows every feather in perfect detail. Even the eyes gleam with tiny pink gems. The coloration of the body shades from pure white to subtle shades of the palest pink. He flies high, wings spread in ecstasy as he soars to bring his message of love. There is a safety clasp closure on the replacement pin back. The vibrancy of nature has found its most perfect expression in the timeless beauty of the delicate Victorian “love in flight” brooch.

Condition: Excellent. (Hint – pin the bird aimed slightly downward so it appears to be landing with the hanging envelope.)
Size: 1 7/8” long, 1 7/8” wide, 5/8” deep due to elevated wings.





THE PARTY AT GATSBY'S ( Antique Arts & Crafts / Art Deco Glass Peacock Eye Sautoir Necklace ): It was a great age of change – the war was over and young women “bright young things” bobbed their hair, roughed their knees, wore short beaded dresses and satin pumps. Everything was new, flashy and above all “Fun”. It was the era of jazz and flappers ruled. Every woman had her eye on Gatsby, but he saw only Daisy. The fashion of the day called for sautoir necklaces, a French term for a long necklace that suspends a tassel or other ornament at its end - the perfect complement for the frenetic dances of the day. This amazing antique Peacock Eye foiled glass bead Edwardian / Art Deco Necklace (c. 1910-25) has been in my personal collection for years. These brilliantly colored glass stones were hand made of blue and green foiling to resemble the center or “eye” of a peacock tail feather. The British Arts & Crafts Movement and the French Art Deco Era caught fire and burned with passion that had quite an impact on jewelry history. I love the unique iridescent shine and intense colors of the peacock eye. These pieces are in high demand and difficult to find. And when the parties were over and Daisy and the guests motored home all that was left was the light at the end of the pier, the cold water and this rare necklace. They were careless people.

Condition: Excellent
.Size: Total length 37”. Tassel hangs down 5”. Three oval beads 3/4” x 3/8”, round beads vary from 1/2” to just over 1/4” in diameter.





THE REEFS FINAL SURRENDER ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Coral Brooch / Pin ): Victorians wore Coral constantly as a talisman against enchantments, witchcraft and Satan. Antique Coral pieces were very often hand-carved in clusters of leaves and blossoms. This brooch (c.1855-70) is a soft peach color that makes a beautiful statement mingled with the colors of Fall. A large full blooming flower sits at the very top. It is surrounded with delicate details of tiny floral buds, newly opening flowers and many serrate edged leaves to create an enchanted symphony of gifts from the Sea. Numerous dainty gold wire work pieces support all of the tiny floral and leaf embellishments. (Observe the work from the back.) A light and airy look is achieved by combining all of the carefully hand-carved leaves and blossoms. Unfortunately, the very delicacy of these carved pieces makes good examples of coral jewelry rare. They just haven't survived intact. Much of this type of fine coral carving work was done in Italy and could not be repeated today. This pin was part of a large estate purchased in England. The gold extended pin back has a C clasp closure. The soft radiance of coral is both feminine and flattering. The marvelous delicacy of the this brooch is certain to be admired by all.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 2 5/8” wide, 1 1/4” high, 1/2” deep.





EXOTIC FEATHERED FANTASY ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Bird Feathered Picture Brooch / Pin ): The Victorians were particularly fascinated by nature and its creatures. They loved the iridescent beauty of the birds and butterflies from the deep Amazon and included it in some of their jewelry. Unfortunately the iridescence often faded with time and light exposure, but this exotic brooch (c. 1890-1900) is the exception. Not only does this colorful 3 dimensional bird reside in a verdant fantasy setting but the bright colored iridescence of the bird, flower and the various plants remains in all its glory. We took photos lit from each quadrant to try to capture the magic of iridescence but they don't begin to show the true beauty I see as I hold this brooch in my hand. The entire 3 dimensional scene is made of feathers except for the tan bush below the bird, the shiny red center of the flower and the black shiny eye of the bird. It is all set on a glimmering Mother Of Pearl background. The picture is appropriately showcased in a relatively simple gilt gold setting covered by beveled glass. It has a C clasp pin back. I'm not sure you will ever see another feathered fantasy as beautiful and is such perfect condition as this one. I know I have not.

Condition: Excellent. Not a feather out of place.
Size: 2” high, 1 5/8” wide, 3/8” deep.





FIRST BLUSH OF INNOCENCE ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Enamel Portrait Miniature Pendant ): When you hold this little blonde, blue-eyed beauty (c 1870-80) in your hand you will find it impossible to believe that she sat for this painted enamel over 135 years ago. It looks brand new – as if she were this beautiful little girl just yesterday! Think of the great pleasure holding and viewing this picture must have given to her wealthy mother and father those many years ago. We can thank the well known Parisian photographer and artist – Mathieu Deroche – for this miracle. Deroche used a very difficult process consisting of using collodion to transfer a photograph from a glass plate to a slightly domed oval of white enamel. He then painted the black and white photo and filled in the background with vitrifiable (melt-able) pigment and then gently heated it to fix the pigment. After signing it, he covered the picture with a layer of clear enamel and fired it – preserving her perfectly for posterity. His fame spread until he was painting not only his own commissioned photographs, but those sent to him by photographers from other countries. Our little blonde angel wears a white pinafore, pink ribbons in her hair and holds a blush pink rose. You can see how beautifully Deroche's painted background sets her off. Along the right edge is the signature: “Mathieu-Deroche, Paris”. She is set in a large Sterling Silver frame with a japanned (darkened) silver bow and ribbons at the top. The ring on the back rotates so that she can either be hung from a hook or worn as a pendant. Adopt her as part of your family!

Condition: Excellent. Purchased at auction. Small chip at bottom of enamel. Barely visible. (Chain not included.)
Size: Oval is 4” high, 3 1/4” wide, 1/4” deep.





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