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Victorian Jewelry

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Item: Description: Price:


RAPHAEL'S CELESTIAL CHERUB ( Victorian Antique Bone Jewelry Cherub Brooch / Pin ): In Victorian times, when Heaven was only a heartbeat away for so many – young and old, the two famous Vatican Cherubs painted by the Italian Renaissance painter, Raphael, in his “Sistine Madonna” (1512) were favored subjects for jewelry artists. The Celestial Cherubs have there arms resting on the bottom edge of the painting and both are gazing upward towards Mary and baby Jesus. This Bone Brooch depicts the Cherub on the left with his chin resting on his hand. I have had miniatures and enamels of him, but this is the first Antique Bone depiction I've discovered. It was carved by a master carver in Dieppe, France around 1870. The detail of this miniature masterpiece is quite remarkable. Even more remarkable is that it has survived over 140 years in perfect condition. It has its original C clasp pin back. I am including the antique jewelry box it came in. The pin fits nicely into the pin groove in the blue velvet base and the brooch is held firmly, yet gently, by the padded silk top. Make sure you capture this Cherub!

Condition: Excellent. No broken tips. Box included.
Size: 2” wide, 1 7/8” high, 3/16” deep.



REMARKABLE JET JEWELS ( Victorian Jewelry Antique Whitby Jet Earrings ): Considering that many Victorian women wore black for most of their lives, it is not surprising that they would want to enhance their “toilet” with a bit of fashionable elegance. Because it was fashionable, black jewelry was also worn by women who were not in mourning. Jewels of jet were the first choice for ladies of social standing. This superb pair of elaborately carved Whitby Jet earrings is a perfect example of sophisticated, fashionable jet jewelry. (c. 1860-70) Long drops of jet have been deeply hand carved all the way around, accompanied by fully round carved rosettes at the top. (Please look at close-ups to appreciate the elegant carving.) The earring caps and ear wires are 9 CT gold. (The hooks look silver in photos, but are really gold colored.) Black, flashing and alive, these “earbobs” shimmer and glint as they dance next to your face. Captivate your audience with these remarkable carved jet earrings.

Condition: Excellent. Superior hand carving. No chips.
Size: From top of the jet rosettes 2 3/4” long, 5/8” in diameter.



FLORAL FANTASY ( Vintage Jewelry Hand Carved Bone Stretch Bracelet ): This intricately hand-carved bone stretch bracelet is a lovely piece of vintage jewelry which looks like it is made of Ivory. (c. 1920-40) It features 6 highly detailed carved panels and a very large, exquisitely carved centerpiece of delicate flowers in full bloom, floral buds, leaves and vines. (Probably carved in India – not French or German.) The six narrower panels taper gently to the back and all are an evenly shaded ivory color. The elastic allows this beauty to stretch to fit a small to medium wrist. (Not for large wrists.) A wonderful bracelet that would definitely be a prized addition to any collection.

Condition: Excellent. No breakage.
Size: The centerpiece is 2” high, 1 1/2” wide, 1/4” deep. The side panels are approximately 3/4” to 1” wide, 1/4” deep.



ETERNALLY INTRIGUING ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Snake Bracelet ): No, this is not the Asp with which Cleopatra committed suicide, but that story may have been part of the reason for the Victorian's fascination with jewelry containing snakes, including Queen Victoria herself. Probably more important was their belief that the snake represented eternity – along with immortality, love and wisdom. If you haven't actually stroked a life snake (as all Texans have) you may be surprised to hear that, rather than feeling slimy, they feel quite smooth and silky. This intricately gold washed silver wire snake has the same qualities – very flexible and a very silky feel. Both the head and tail are engraved with scales and there is a mouth, nostrils and tiny cabochon cut garnet eyes. The surface of the body is made up of eight very tiny wires making up each of the small bands woven to form the serpent's scales. Really quite amazing! I would call the color a greenish gray gold, but I am quite sure it is a wash over silver. Help continue this lovely creatures trip to eternity!

Condition: Excellent. Very mild wear of underside of head and tip of tail.
Size: Snake 15 1/4” long, 3/8” wide. Bracelet 1” wide, 1/4” deep. Inner opening 2”, easily expands for any wrist size.





PRECIOUS 3 LITTLE KITTENS ( Vintage Sterling Silver Guilloché Compact Pendant Necklace ): Cosmetics have been used to increase attraction since ancient times, but compacts have been a symbol of love for just generations, mainly since the 1920's. Compacts were born in the Edwardian Era. Women could apply powder for optimizing the prized “pale” look and use the compact to pose and flirt. These “Modern Essential” compacts could make you appear more alluring and charismatic. This Sterling Silver and Guilloché Enamel is a loving tribute to early compacts (1915-1925). The technique of guilloché enamel features an engraved decoration of geometric design on metal achieved by engine turning. Used as a base for translucent enamel it creates a shimmering effect. Cats were not used in jewelry as often as dogs so cat aficionados were often left wanting. This precious treasure of guilloché features the image of three most beguiling kittens. Rendered in colors of brown, gray, black and white, the “ 3 little kittens” are displayed with yellow and green eyes, pink ears and nose and lips of deep rose. The colors are subtle and surprisingly realistic. I had the compact mounted for wear as a pendant by adding a Sterling Silver band and a silver and mother-of-pearl tubular bale. The back is hallmarked with three crowns in an oval and the letter “S”, indicating that it is Swedish, made after 1912 and reserved for export. A cosmetic masterpiece in miniature, this will demonstrate that you are a lady of style with a chic sense of history.

Condition: Excellent. Vintage compact has some weight. Chain is not included.
Size: Compact face is 2 1/4” in diameter, 3/4” deep.



ENTWINED SNAKES CELEBRATE LOVE ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Double Snake Brooch ): A powerful symbol of love, the snake was celebrated by Victorians who followed the example set by Queen Victoria. Her passionate husband, Prince Albert, gave her many pieces of jewelry featuring the snake motif – including her engagement ring. The serpent symbolized love, eternity, rebirth, immortality and wisdom. Regal in size, this double snake Victorian Brooch features Persian turquoise set in silver. The turquoise stone's colors range from dark green to light blue. They may have changed over their century and a half. The American Indians say that turquoise absorbs illness and keeps you well. Their eyes are tiny garnets and their heads and tails exhibit scale-like engraving. (c. 1850-70) The brooch back has a replacement pin back with a center opening safety clasp. The back has a reinforcement made of gold. These changes were made a long time ago and give the snakes a long lasting stability. Grand in size and rich in color, this double snake brooch is a seductive and alluring work of the jeweler's art. The essence of the 19th Century is yours to touch, hold and treasure for another life time. These snake brooches are highly desirable and a great favorite with collectors.

Condition: Very good. Reinforcement to back and replacement pin and safety clasp.
Size: 2 7/8” wide, 1 3/4” high.





GLITTERING DIAMOND ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Cut Steel Brooch / Pin ): OK, this large diamond shaped brooch is not made up of true diamonds, but the cut steel studs are not a bad replacement especially in the era where candlelight provided the illumination. The 18th Century first saw cut steel as a replacement for the precious gems Louis XV requisitioned to finance the Seven Years' War. Although cut steel pieces were found throughout the Georgian era in the form of shoe buckles, knee buckles and buttons, its popularity reached its peak from about 1850 to the late Victorian Period. Cut steel jewelry is set with minute steel studs which have been faceted and polished to a high sheen. Each small cut steel bead is individually riveted onto a metal backing plate. The tiny riveted pieces are densely set in pavé fashion. This horizontal diamond shaped brooch is made up of intricately curled patterns with a six petal flower in the center. There are larger studs around the periphery and four sizable “pyramids” of cut steel topped with large studs. Though in its present state I would say this is a Victorian Brooch due to its large size, I think it originally some sort of buckle. It has a replacement safety catch pin back and there is the small remnant of some vertical attachment on the back – possibly a buckle attachment. (I wish I were more of an expert and could say this with certainty because it would make it quite rare and even more valuable.) If you're clever, this large brooch could be worn at the “V” of a low-necked dress. Remember – diamonds are a girl's best friend – Cut Steel puts a different spin on it!

Condition: Excellent. Two small areas of solder repair on back.
Size: 4” wide, 3 1/4” high, pyramids 1/4” high.




GARNET TEARDROPS ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Garnet Pierced Earrings ): These elegant Victorian Bohemian Garnet Earrings remind me of a fine rare red wine – both because of their deep wine color and their rarity. Antique garnet brooches are not that uncommon, but fine garnet earrings are much more difficult to find. These highly prized Bohemian Garnets were mined in what is not the Czech Republic. The Victorians believed that garnets would enrich the blood and provide the wearer with a long and healthy life. These pierced earrings consist of an unusually large teardrop shaped cabochon cut garnet encircled by a row of small faceted glimmering garnets. It swings freely from an inverted “V” of garnets which help set it off. They in turn dangle from a gold shepherd's hook fronted by three small faceted garnets. All the garnets are set in closed back rose gold with one large opening behind the teardrop garnet allowing it to glow from within. Just picture how elegant you will look wearing these to you next black-tie event!

Condition: Excellent.
Size: Top to bottom of garnets 1 5/8” long, 5/8” wide, 1/4” deep. Total length 1 7/8”.



ETHEREAL CRYSTAL ORB ( Vintage Jewelry Art Deco “Pool of Light” Pendant ): Delicate and ethereal, this pendant consists of a fabulous quartz crystal orb known as “pools of light”. (c. 1925) It is believed that the source of these beads is the northern slope of Mount Fujiyama in Japan. They were a product of the mount when it erupted in springtime. The crystals then found their way into the stream beds where, over the years, they were polished as they journeyed over pebbles into the foothill river beds. Finally they were polished to perfection in the lapidary shops of Kofu. They possess the unusual optical quality of rotary polarization – when you look through one the image will appear to be upside down and reversed (rotated 180 degrees). Try it! 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 seems to have exhausted itself in the 1930’s. This vermeil (gold wash over silver) pendant from the 1920's is a true delight. The crystal globe is covered with a floral motif wrap and suspended from an oblong filigree bead. There is a ring at the top to slip it onto a fine chain necklace. It is difficult to photograph these “pools” as they often have a grayish appearance – absorbing the light. Against one's skin, or other hues, they take on a rainbow of guises. Alive with the vibrancy of another era, the timeless beauty of this pendant dances with the light. Highly sought after be collectors – there will be no more mysterious “Pools of Light”.

Condition: Excellent. Very minor signs of wear to the vermeil wash of the filigree bead. Chain not included.
Size: Hangs 2” long. Orb 3/4” in diameter.



THE WONDER OF UNGER ( Art Nouveau Jewelry Sterling Silver Unger Brothers Brooch / Pin ): Unger Bros. was one of the most creative and premier manufacturers of Art Nouveau Sterling Silver items in the United States. This firm reached its creative zenith from 1895 to 1907. The company’s most popular items were decorated with fantastic Nouveau designs incorporating flowers, heads of women, ocean waves and seashells. This splendid large brooch is of a fashionable lady wearing a plumed hat, her face entirely covered with a veil with a large elaborate bow tied under her chin. (c. 1900-10) Her eyes are demurely downcast, her nose a perfect line and her lips are slightly parted. This elegant lady brooch has all the “bells and whistles”. The design is done in die-stamp high relief work for which the Unger Bros. were known. The sculptural quality of the high relief work creates a distinctive three-dimensional sense – adding to the fantasy-like atmosphere of the design. The reverse has been backed with a flat sheet of Sterling to give more substance. There is a replacement C clasp closure on the back and the distinctive hallmark with the interlaced “U” and “B” surrounded by the words and numbers “STERLING 925 FINE”. Many of these large brooches are in museums or private collections. Lovely to look at, thrilling to hold, a real show stopper! Picture yourself with this worn on black velvet. You’ll be the envy of every lady who sees you and this could become your personal signature piece.

Condition: Excellent. Wonderful patina. The two tiny pin holes on the reverse are part of the casting process.
Size: Large – 2 1/2" high, 2 1/2" wide, 1/2" deep.





LOST IN TIME ( Georgian Jewelry Portrait Miniature Brooch / Pin ): This is a superb example of early miniature portrait painting, definitely museum quality. Portrait painting was very popular during the mid 1700's to the late 1800's as an art form. This lovely lady's name is Lost in Time, but her beauty lives on. Note the detail of the exquisite lace of her head dress. Her dress is green and there is a yellow ribbon in her lace headdress. Appropriately she is wearing a portrait miniature (or cameo). Prior to the advent of photography these small pieces served as memoirs of loved ones. Though first popular in Europe, during our Civil War wives commonly gave them to husbands off to war to remember them by. This particular brooch is European (c. 1820-30). The painting is done in what appears to be a compilation of oil based paint and watercolor. The quality of the painting is superb and although the piece appears to be unsigned, it was clearly the work of a master portraiture artist. It may also be signed on the reverse as was often the custom, but the back is not accessible. It is mounted in a 14KT yellow gold frame and cased in glass. The piece has the original C clasp and early tube style hinge. High quality portraits such as this are primarily housed in museums and private collections. They are an art form that was not particularly popular during the 20th Century, but has zoomed up in popularity since the turn of this century. These Miniature Masterpieces are now appreciated for what they truly are – beautiful works of art. This is a rare opportunity to own a very fine example of wearable art that will only become more valuable in the years to come.

Condition: Excellent. There is a tiny crack in the edge of the glass (see photo).
Size: 2 1/8” high, 1 5/8” wide, 1/4” deep.


CUT STEEL SWALLOW GLITTERS WITH LIGHT ( Georgian Jewelry Cut Steel Bird Brooch / Pin ): This large glittering Georgian Cut Steel Swallow in flight will make your heart beat faster. (c. 1820) Cut Steel has a long history of its very own admirers – revered in the 17th Century and again in the Victorian period. Used as an alternative for the look of early cut diamonds, cut steel jewelry is a highly refined process. Each small cut steel bead or stud is hand cut, faceted, polished and painstakingly riveted into a metal (typically brass) back piece. Take a look at all of the rivet marks on the back of this swallow and think of the work involved! The Georgian and Victorian eras were deeply committed to the “cult of nature”. Birds and butterflies took center stage as popular motifs in jewelry. Birds in flight symbolized the winged soul as it begins its eternal journey. This wonderfully dramatic Swallow Brooch glimmers and sparkles, creating a 3-dimensional effect with its wings applied in two layers. The lower wing has been added on so that it is fully extended in front of the bird’s body. The back retains its original C clasp and pin stem. English or French in origin, resist the temptation to shade your eyes as the light dances from one facet to the other. (Our photos cannot nearly capture the glittering effect.) In the last decade Antique Cut Steel Jewelry has gained increasing popularity and the demand for these pieces is high. This large bird is the biggest piece I have ever offered. Picture this sparkling creation perched on your shoulder, lapel or even in your hair – if you dare!

Condition: Excellent. Very small amount of expected patina. No rust, no beads missing.
Size: 1 1/4" high, 2 1/2" long, 1/2” deep. (Large)


STOLEN TREASURE ( Arts & Crafts Jewelry Peacock Eye Brooch / Pin ): I was very excited when I found this dazzling example of the Arts & Crafts Movement on my last buying trip. Powerful and mysterious, this large mythical clawed bird foot is gripping a huge Peacock Eye stone. It appears to be reaching down from the sky to clutch its brilliantly hued treasure – a stolen treasure gone forever. This brooch displays the vibrancy of nature in fine and precise craftsmanship. The practitioners of the Arts & Crafts Movement (c. 1890-1920) were revivalists of the past. (You can see the Medieval and Gothic influence in the choice of a claw.) They rebelled against the excesses of Victorian ornamentation. In jewelry the intrinsic value of the materials was of secondary importance to design and workmanship. Most Arts & Crafts artisans preferred silver to gold and cabochon cut gem stones to faceted ones. The leg of the powerful bird is realistically rendered in brass with a brownish patina – every scale and claw as if made by nature. (c. 1900-1910) At the top of the foot is an encircling cluster of leaves – giving the impression of the leg reaching right through them to steal the colorful treasure. Peacock Eye stones were hand crafted, glass over foil and a favorite of Arts & Craft designers. The back of the brooch has a replacement pin stem and safety catch closure. This timeless beauty embodies all of the hallmarks of the Arts & Crafts movement in one breathtaking brooch. It’s a killer combination!

Condition: Excellent. Replacement pin stem and safety clasp.
Size: 3” long, 1 3/8” high, 1/2" deep. Peacock Eye Stone is 1” long, 5/8” high, 3/8” deep.


RARE HAIR COMB OF ROMANTIC ROSES ( Victorian Jewelry Celluloid Hair Comb ): Celluloid enjoyed great popularity in jewelry during the latter part of the 19th Century, particularly during the 1880’s when colorless jewels became the vogue. During the reign of Victoria the “Language of Flowers” became a form of communication between friends and lovers. This hair comb of roses conveys the message “Never forget that I love you.” This breathtaking curved ivory colored comb is an extravaganza of four climbing roses beginning with stems and buds and culminating in four roses in full bloom. The roses are elevated above the lace-like areas between each rose stem. There are five strong teeth that hold the comb firmly in place – you can wear it tucked in the back, high on your head or on either side of your head. The teeth are quite long so let them help you to determine where it feels most comfortable. A perfect gift for an upcoming wedding or a bride of 50 years. Anyone will look more elegant with this comb in their hair. The “WOW” factor is +10. Imagine yourself wearing this captivating example of the timeless beauty and romance of roses. A rare heirloom to pass on to other generations.

Condition: Excellent. No losses.
Size: 5 1/2" high, 4” wide, teeth are 2 3/4" long.




THE POWER OF THE HIGHLANDS ( Victorian Jewelry Scottish Agate Brooch / Pin ): When Queen Victoria and Albert purchased Balmoral Castle in 1848 the heart of English society was immediately captivated with the subtle colors of moss and heather, the mysteries of high gray castle walls and the strict heraldry which still ruled the Scottish clans. This extraordinary antique Victorian brooch mimics the penannular (broken ring) brooches that were used to secure the clan’s tartan plaid to the left shoulder of the Scottish Highlander. (c. 1850-70) Inlayed with 5 pieces of agate and 2 slices of bloodstone, this ancient stone is actually a dark green chalcedony with flecks of red – hence the name bloodstone. Many ancient magical powers are credited to it, including the power to stop bleeding and preserve health. The Sterling Silver portions are elaborately engraved, the long pin running through the center makes a handsome accent. The three large bezel set faceted stones are citrines. This is not a hollow ware piece - it is solid Sterling. The back retains its original C clasp closure, elongated pin stem and a tiny ring for a safety chain. A perfect jacket or shawl brooch that a collector will love. The market for prime Scottish jewelry is rising rapidly and pieces as large and powerful as this brooch are disappearing fast. Songs and stories immortalize the fierce and turbulent past that still haunts the Scottish soul. Regal, elegant and a touch barbaric – this unforgettable brooch is as wearable today as it was 150 years ago.

Condition: Excellent. I believe the dark agate stone just above the citrine in the pin head to be a replacement. No scratches on citrines.
Size: Large – 2 3/8” in diameter, front pin stem 2 3/4" long, 3/8” deep.





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