This Scottish sterling silver agate pin is circa 1860. It is a rare form of a penannular, a traditional brooch. It is unique in utilizing only Montrose grey agates, as well as its simplicity of form. I have long admired and collected Scottish jewelry for its singular beauty. Scottish jewelry became very popular when Queen Victoria visited Balmoral, her castle in the Highlands. She adorned herself with Scottish jewelry and dressed her children in tartans. What the Queen wore, so did the populace, and the industry grew exponentially. Most of the jewelry was designed for the masses, but the rarest pieces were created by highly skilled artisans. It was a laborious process in which agates were specially chosen, cut, polished and placed in silver or gold settings.
This example is a penannular, or spinning ring that fastens a cloak, scarf or sweater. The last photo displays the pin on a cashmere sweater. The design is so clean, almost modern in appearance, and yet this particular pin is over 150 years old. I love this form and have have sold several with multi-colored agates, but this is the first in all Montrose grey. The grey color of this agate is mellow, and it is indigenous to Scotland.
This pin measures 2 1/2 inches long X 2 3/8ths across. The silver has minor signs of wear expected of a piece this age. The overall condition is excellent/superb. Scotland, circa 1860
+++Please note that all items listed as silver or gold are either marked (in which case there will be a picture of the mark if possible), or have been acid tested by me to verify the metal content.+++