Dating to ca. 1770-1790, this rare Georgian mourning brooch memorializing an aristocratic military officer is a superb example of the finest in sentimental jewelry!
This is the only 18th-century memorial brooch that I have come across in over 15 years as a jewelry collector, dealer and historian which displays an armorial cypher! This brooch is crafted from 15k yellow gold, and boasts a swatch of dark-blond woven hair, over which is set the initials "J.J.", as well as a bent armor-clad arm dexter, holding a dagger. These cyphers are wrought in high-karat rose gold (gold unmarked but tested).
In British heraldry, the armor-clad arm holding a dagger symbolizes that the subject was of both noble birth and military background. This gentleman would have served in one of the many wars that swept England and Europe in the last half of the 18th-century. It is very possible that this officer died in battle.
The rose-gold cyphers and hair are framed with an engraved gold border, and covered by the original optical crystal. This crystal is set over an engraved frame of 15k yellow gold. The back of the brooch retains its original gold "T and C" clasp. The reverse of the brooch also boasts stippling and engraved decoration on the border. This jewel has not been cleaned, and the gold boasts a deep "bloom" that only the passing of time can impart.
This magnificent jewel measures 1 1/8" long x 3/4" high. It weighs 5.5 grams. Best of all, this brooch has survived the past 225 years in near-MINT condition! There are no repairs, replacements, or losses! The crystal is free from scratches, and the hair and cyphers are beautifully presented. It is clear by the quality and fine craftsmanship that this memorial jewel was crafted for a high-ranking aristocratic family!
Although the identity of this aristocratic officer remains lost to the centuries, this brooch is a rare example of an heraldic mourning jewel. This beautiful and historic brooch is highly wearable, and looks beautiful worn on a lapel or a sweater! if you collect the FINEST in Georgian-era mourning jewelry, do not miss this important example - I do not expect to find another!
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