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.
This exquisite Scottish pebble-set brooch has an open center with a domed circular shape with sections of pure silver interspersed with sections of inset agates. The end effect resembles a twisted rope that is connected in a way that is an unending pattern. This impressive piece dates to the mid-19th century.
The engraving on the silver sections is highly decorative. This is one of the largest brooches I have come across in some time. The gray color of the stones blends harmoniously with the silver setting. It is an elegant combination. The large agate stones are from the mountains of Montrose.
This pretty brooch was probably used to attach at the shoulder the large plaid scarves that ladies wore. The hinge is strong and working well. The clasp holds the brooch securely.
The condition is excellent. The silver has acquired a beautiful, soft patina that adds an air of antique beauty to the polished stones.
It measures almost 2-1/2 inches in diameter on the outside. The inner circle has a diameter of 1-3/8 inches.
If you are looking for a large and showy piece of Victorian Scottish jewelry, then this could be one that fits your bill.
A photo of a similar example of this brooch can be found on page 48 in Diana Scarisbrick’s “Scottish Jewelry: A Victorian Passion.”
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