A plaiting of blond hair still resides within this wonderful old mourning brooch, and stands as memento of devotion, love, and loss. These were popular throughout Georgian to Edwardian era, and represent not only mourning but sometimes other expressions of love, such as a dear friendship. We'll hope this one is a lock of a mother's and father's hair plaited together within the protective oval frame of red coral, which is talisman for protection (particularly of young women, virgins). The brooch might have been a gift to a departing betrothed girl, on her way to her destiny with a new husband, and in a distant enough town they may not ever see her again. Such was often the case in Georgian times, and so I prefer my story! Let's think of this one in that way. No matter, though, which flight of historical context one chooses for it, the brooch is a beauty! You can remove the old plaiting if you choose, and replace it with a memento that means something to you. I have a few of these into which sand from a particularly special beach has been enshrined, and I've seen them with locks of a baby's hair, as a gift to a new mother, as well. Since it's a protective talisman, it's perfect as a gift to anyone you love.
Red coral: By the way, 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?
Very good condition throughout. It is pinchbeck or less than 9k gold, beautifully mimics solid gold, however, and you'll need an acid test to be sure it's not (yes, we tested). The red coral shows grain and is beautifully preserved - a rich red tomato color. The beveled oval cover glass remains fully intact, no chips or cracks. A fine memento of another era.
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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