A very unique carved red coral jewelry item, versatile in that it can be a hair ornament, a brooch, or the adornment for a ribbon choker necklace or even a bodice belt (a' la Georgian or French Empire styles). The unique form in which this one is made makes it as special as do the beautifully hand carved red coral berries and leaves that comprise its upper presentation. Let's talk about use: you see those elongated loops on either end of the matrix from backside - running a half to 5/8" ribbon through those, you instantly create a choker, or belt or even a bracelet or headband. Run hairpins through them and anchor it as the adornment for your chignon, and you have it as a hair ornament. And if you wish to anchor it with a long pin, it can become a stomacher of sorts, or brooch. Thoroughly charming, it dates to early 1800s, perhaps as late as early Victorian at latest. The substantial matrix is tested and confirmed to be 18k yellow gold. There's no way to weigh it separately, of course, but in full, the lightweight coral adds in and total weight it 18 grams.
Very good to excellent condition, beautifully hand carved berries of a quality equal to those I've just seen in the jewelry collection at the British Museum and the V&A Museum, London. The photos give you a good look at it from all angles. There may be a tiny nip somewhere, but if so, it certainly does not detract from either the aesthetic appeal nor the value of this fine jewelry item. The box is not original to this item and is used only to show it off for our photos. It will not be included in the sale, though we will try to match a nice antique box with it or will provide a new presentation box to house and protect it for shipment.
NOTE: The red coral is a talisman for protection of the wearer from harm. Coral has long been thought of as a protective amulet. Going back to ancient times, it was thought to be the solidified tendrils of the blood from the severed head of Medusa, and to have the properties of protection for the wearer, particularly if the wearer is a child. Such interesting lore attends these old pieces, and the traditions cross over into modern times. So, with this combination, one can surmise that this fine jewelry piece would have been a symbolic wish for the eternal protection of the wearer, perhaps? A charming idea for a gift to someone you cherish and would, likewise, wish to guard throughout eternity, no?
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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