VERY French in feel, with the feathers of human hair arranged inside along with gold wire, a cobalt blue frame accented further with a collar of perfect 2mm seed pearls, all in place. Possibly as early as Georgian era, but we'll stay safe with Victorian to Georgian dates (c. 1820-1850, we'd say). The piece is a fine high quality treasure from an era when the aesthetic included such heirloom mourning items, complete with plaited or braided & worked hair from a deceased family member or loved one, just as you see in this item. Pre-photography era, for the most part, these mementos might well be the only remnant of a physical nature that would evoke the memory of the person who had died. And death had its own rituals, then as now. A mourner's jewelry was determined by the length of time in mourning. Initially, only black was allowed worn, then bits of gold showing with the black, later some sedate coloration such as cobalt blue could be worn, but nothing bright or colorful until at least a year post-loss. One can track the evolution of mourning jewelry with a bit of research and one or two of the many very interesting reference books dedicated to this genre. To me, it's a testament to love that so many of these have survived so beautifully; surely treasured through many many generations. And I'm not sure what it says about our world's culture today that so many families have, within a generation or 2, let so many of these go to market. But we're always pleased to find the very finest ones for our collecting customers. They hold a very special charm and a bit more personality and 'romance' of a sort than do the more ordinary bits of old jewelry, don't you agree? Macabre? Perhaps. But when you consider the treasure they hold and the history they attest to, silently and well, who could not be seduced by these elegant devotions. I'll be listing quite a collection of these over weeks ahead. Be sure to come back to see them all.
Very good to excellent, a fine 12K gold, elegant enamel with only a tiny crack area as noted in images to keep it from ranking 'excellent'. No other damage or flaws to diminish either your enjoyment or the investment value of the piece. Wear it as a brooch, or use an extender/enhancer link to drop it from your pearls or onyx beads for a most elegant look.
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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