During her long reign Queen Victoria set the fashion by wearing jewelry fashioned from stones and agates that were found in her beloved Scotland. And with her purchase in 1847 of her Scottish castle, Balmoral, the popularity of all things Scottish soared. This jewelry was often called “Scotch pebble jewelry” because the stones were often found as pebbles in rivers and along their banks. Later, jewelers also used stones from Germany.
This fabulous piece of Scottish agate jewelry, which dates back to around 1870, has all the earmarks of a talented and gifted designer. The mount was made by an expert silversmith who then engraved it. This brooch has a lot of detail in the silver work itself, and although it is not marked, it has been tested and is silver. (Many similar brooches of the time were fashioned with unmarked silver.)
The design is such that it has a silver buckle placed on the agate, as well as an agate strap edged with a silver engraved ending. This was called the “buckled strap,” which symbolized the Order of the Garter, which Queen Victoria headed. This design is one of the most popular and sought-after motifs in agate jewelry.
In this piece, the stones were carefully chosen and matched so that they fit perfectly and have a pleasing mosaic effect. They are highly polished gray agate and lend a handsome and sophisticated look to the finished piece of jewelry.
It has its original hinge and bar, although the bar is slightly bent as one would expect given its age and use. There is also a small silver ring on the back that could be used to wear the brooch as a drop. It is in excellent condition, with only a minute chip that is barely noticeable (see extreme close-up photo).
It is 2-1/8” wide by the same measurement in total height.
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