Pieces of mourning art constructed from the bereaved loved one is becoming more and more difficult to find. Many have been butchered for their gold value and in some cases, its owner simply didn't understand what they had. Hair from the deceased shaped the weeping willows depicted. They are an expression of sorrow while the new growth in front of the monument signifies new life, and hope. Back in the day, only the best off could afford such an elaborate and valuable memorial for their deceased loved one.
This mourning pin, once it is understood what an undertaking it was to construct, can take your breath away! With a backdrop of ivory, several tones of sepia with the deceased's dissolved hair forms the weeping willow branches, along with other detail. The inscription on the monument can't be deciphered, and maybe not meant to be. This magnificent piece of art is placed in a shadow box of sorts, with a depth of 1/16", and protected with glass, in an effort to display and preserve. At one time this brooch had an dark blue enamel bezel, and most of it has been chipped off. The back is engraved M C Riggs and has imperfections. Acid testing the bezel, c-clasp and inner ring surrounding the picture tests positive for 14k and may be higher. The back of the coiled bezel shows wear marks and acid testing this area is negative for gold. I'm mystified by the different gold testing results and am unaware of any Georgian era gold being plated. As I have no intention of taking this piece apart, the back hasn't been tested. What is left of the clasp shows it to have been a pin stem, c-clasp, with tube hinge. It measures 1 3/4" in length and weighs 12.9 grams.
I am knowledgeable in many areas however must admit this piece really presented a challenge. It breaks my heart to see how this breathtaking work of art has been compromised. I received it with the clasp chopped off due to its gold value, and once that was done, its owner threw up his hands and passed it off to me.
After having assessed all characteristics of this piece it looks to be from the Georgian era, covering a period between 1714-1811. This creation is symbolic of mourning, and sadness in that era. Given it's age, having been created so many years ago, and the defacement, the picture itself is in amazing condition, with no noted issues. It certainly is worthy of appreciation and respect from a caring owner.
My pricing reflects both the condition of this piece and the quandary over the gold content.
Item ID: 0497-KD
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