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. British examples of this sweeping fashion are to be seen in the novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell. In her novel, “Cranford” (1851), set in the Cheshire village of Knutsford, one of the characters, Miss Pole, was wearing no less than seven pebble brooches. (I’ll be watching for this myself the next time I view the BBC television production of “Cranford.”) This jewelry was often called “Scotch pebble jewelry” because the stones were often found as pebbles in rivers and along their banks.
Although the design of this elegant brooch is based on age-old traditional circular and wreath designs, it has an intrinsic charm that often escapes similar pieces. The silver was worked in v-shaped decorations interspersed between larger inset moss agate stones. The beautifully cut stones are well-polished and have a rounded, domed appearance, as opposed to just lying flat as found in most agate brooches. These circular inset stones also work into a beautiful wreath-like design, decidedly more showy than others. The pretty colors of the moss agates look well against the soft sheen of the silver decorations.
It is marked on the back with impressed letters, though difficult to read; I believe it says, “Silver.” The piece dates to the early 20th century.
The condition is superb. The stones have no flaws and the silver has acquired a beautiful patina. The clasp is tight with a safety catch, and the hinge operates well.
This is a fine piece of antique jewelry to wear with your favorite outfits.
It measures 1-1/4 inches in diameter.
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