Antique late Victorian porcelain brooch with a painted scene set in a cast metal frame and containing two diamonds and eight more colored and faceted rhinestones. The hand painted scene depicts a country outing or picnic with a young man and woman conversing as they sit along the edge of field just off the side of a rutted road (see all Photos). The young maiden has her bonnet on her lap and appears to be holding a flower in her right hand (Photos 2 and 5). Her young male suitor is also dressed for the occasion and is wearing white stockings, blue pants that end just below the knee, heeled dress shoes with buckles and a fancy dress coat that has a broad white collar and strapping along each shoulder. His clothing seems to suggest an early to mid-1800s date for the occasion with the setting probably in northwestern Europe. The period assigned to this brooch spans anywhere from about 1885 to about 1915 based on its style, materials and the porcelain disk. There is also a small chance that this brooch may be slightly older, but such conjecture is unverified.
The courting scene is painted in muted enamel colors placed on top of the glazed surface which covers a 1 5/8 inch by 1 inch area on the front of the brooch. The painting is carried out in the style of miniaturists with the smallest details added using a brush composed of a single hair or two (Photos 2 and 5). The back or reverse side of the oval porcelain disk is not glazed and exhibits a fine grain bisque-like vitrified surface commensurate with high quality Parian porcelain (see Photos 6 and 7). There is a small but deep circular indentation or hole about 1/16 of an inch across located in the center on back of the painted porcelain disk. The hole is about 1/8th of an inch deep and was purposefully created prior to firing the disk so that the disk could to be mounted in several ways or affixed to other kinds of frames such as those with a solid backing. But because this porcelain disk is secured to its frame by four prongs, the hole was not used in this case.
The brooch listed here has a frame that was constructed by using a detailed mold and the process of casting the piece rather than stamping or pressing it via machinery. Pressed metal frames for buckles, buttons and other small objects had been perfected in the late 1700s in Birmingham, England and the process used to produce silver, sliver plate, steel and brass items. But as noted, the frame on this brooch was cast and the metal may be either an alloy of pewter, tin or silver given its overall hardness (metal frame appears to have a hardness of between 2 to 2.5 using the Moh scale and a set of hardness picks). No warranty is provided as to exactly which alloy the frame may be, however the pin clasp on the back appears to be silver, possibly sterling, and seems to be a replacement likely done some 70 years ago or more(Photo 7). The pin and its clasp are in working order however they could use some adjustment by a professional jeweler to adjust the tension.
The cast metal frame is decorative and composed of ornamental openwork simulating delicate filigree. It displays very fine raised and beaded ridges set on the crest of the scroll-work as well as along the inner border of the frame (Photos 3, 4 and 2). Additionally, there are also two larger sizes of molded single beads that are pointed and form the middle and outer portion of the frame. The largest individual beads are just under 1/16 of an inch across and are placed at the beginning of a single scroll (see Photo 3 where a large bead sits just below and slightly to the right of a diamond).
In addition to molded ornamental details, the metal frame also has small sockets or settings for holding 20 cut stones or rhinestones. These sockets are located in the middle portion of the metal frame and encircle the oval porcelain disk. Only ten stones still remain in these small sockets. The term stone is used here loosely but with some discretion. Two of the stones are cut and faceted diamonds measuring about 1/16 inches across. The remaining eight other stones are translucent, also faceted, and can be categorized by color. These eight are probably paste, glass or simple common minerals such as garnet, quartz, etc. Colors include ruby red (two examples), amber yellow (one example), pale blue (two), and green (three). None of these eight colored stones fluoresce under short wave Ultra-violent light (see Photo 9).
The two diamonds sparkle bright white in daylight and fluoresce bluish white under short wave Ultra-violet light as illustrated in Photo 9. Specifically, the fluorescing diamonds are visible as bright bluish white glowing spheres located at 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock along the metal frame in Photo 9. The view of the diamond located in the 2 o’clock position in Photo 9 is not perfectly round because it is partially blocked by a metal prong that holds the porcelain disk in place. And while the colored rhinestones appear to display some wear on there facets from buffing or cleaning of the frame over time, the faceted faces on two diamonds are as sharp as the day they were cut.
The ten stones scattered irregularly among the twenty sockets in the frame are described as follows starting straight up as 12 o’clock and then progressing clockwise. First, there are two empty sockets followed by a white diamond, an empty socket, a light blue stone (glass paste? or sapphire??), a ruby red stone (glass paste? or ruby?? or garnet??), an amber yellow stone, and then four empty sockets. The sequence continues with a diamond, then a green stone (emerald or paste rhinestone), an empty socket, another green stone, a red stone, and then a light blue stone and ending with two empty sockets before returning back to 12 o’clock.
As an aside, cut diamonds were available from mail order catalogues from at least the 1890s onward. The smallest diamond listed in 1895 in the Montgomery Ward catalogue was 1/8 of a Carat for $7. The Sears Roebuck catalogue listed a 1/32 Carat First Quality diamond for $3.28 in 1908 and a Third Quality one of same size for $2.19 (Sears, Roebuck 1908: page 314). Consequently, this painted porcelain brooch with its remaining two diamonds and eight colored rhinestones may have sold for $5 to $10 back in about 1900.
So if you are looking for an antique brooch with two diamonds and a few other colored rhinestones, then make sure you seriously consider this one while it is still available. And as always, this item also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy (see complete Return Policy details farther below). You also have the option to ask for a customized lay-away plan for purchasing this item (and others when combining orders) by simply requesting the terms you wish to use and then let Doc take care of setting it up and combining any items together as desired (payment installments may be modified at any time should the unexpected ever arise, just let me know by email and I’ll change the due dates).
SIZE & CONDITION: This brooch measures 1 7/8 by 1 1/2 inches and is about 3/16 thick. The painted miniature scene on the porcelain disk held within the frame measures 1 7/8 inches by about 1 inch (see Photos). There is a grayish black patina oxide covering the face of the frame. The painted scene has just a couple of tiny scratches where the enamel paint has been detached (see Photo 5 along the left side of the porcelain disk for three tiny scratches). And as discussed above, ten of the twenty settings for stones in the frame are empty (called sockets above) and could be reset with stones if one so wished (talk to your favorite jeweler). The frame has no broken parts or missing pieces other than the stones already noted. The swinging pin and its clasp are in working order and appear to be a second generation mechanism after a repair made a long time ago. One may wish to have a jeweler adjust the swinging pin slightly should one want it to close more loosely. And as always, if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return this miniature portrait for a refund (see our complete return policy for all details as noted below).
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $6.70 for well packed USPS Priority Mail and this is an estimated savings of $2 to $4 since insurance and tracking are INCLUDED in this amount. That is, the insured postage you pay for delivery in the US is always less than our actual costs or we refund the difference back to you, and there are never any handling or packing fees added to any of your Docs Antiques purchases, ever. All international buyers will also pay less than the actual shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the Continental US mainland. Send us your address and we will email you up to four options for sending this item to your country. We only use the USPS for International shipping to reduce broker fees and certain Custom’s charges when an item is over 100 years old and the option you select allows for enclosing a special waiver. Please note that international import duties, taxes and other special charges are not included in the item price or our shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition waiver for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes when your country grants such petitions for items over 100 years old and the shipping option you select allows a waiver request to be included. Please check with your country's Customs Office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques listings here on Ruby Lane. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with a purchase, then she/he may return this brooch by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fourteen days of the original receipt of the item at your address for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable, please insure the item upon return and add tracking). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we pack professionally, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help if you have any questions and we will gladly assist.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Checks on US Banks (no temporary checks, all checks must have 9 digit routing code; item ships after check fully clears), USPS money orders, PayPal, or contact us with your verified address for more options. If you wish to use a credit card by way of PayPal, then that option becomes available after you submit a Ruby Lane purchase order. Once submitted, a PayPal icon will appear at the bottom of this listing and then you may proceed from there if you wish to pay via PayPal by way of a credit card. Or see our Terms of Sale for additional information should you wish to ask for a customized layaway plan customized to your own needs and situation (email me a request for a customized layaway). Thanks for looking and we invite you back again when you have more time.
Original INV as RL899.a2208 (RL Auto Programming error under RL900.a2217)
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