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Bird’s Eye View: Victorian Pendant Brooch & Earring Set

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Archaeological revival style gold work displays (its) fine feathers in this late 19th century demi-parure consisting of a pendant brooch and pair of earrings. A series of three different “profile portraits” of birds roosting in a wild meadow is a perfect representation of the affairs of the heart that the Victorian had for naturalism.

Perhaps taking a cue from the exceedingly popular Essex crystal, a Victorian jeweler let his imagination fly off into the direction of the birds. Real avian feathers in superb bright and colorful hues have been employed in an assemblage under glass. Creating images of very colorful birds and flora, tiny feathers have been combined in the manner of a micro mosaic and set against a background of mother of pearl. These three pieces of “art as jewelry” incorporate the startling three-dimensional quality of the Essex crystal and the mastery required of a micro mosaic.

Each piece is bordered with a corded rope perimeter of 10k yellow gold and several layers of open work gold in the classical revival style. The brooch pendant with its silver alloy back has a fold down bale and additional “O” fitting along with original pin stem, hinge and clasp. The back of the earring is a brass alloy and has been fitted with early 20th century gold-filled screw back ear fitting (which our jewelers can replace with posts or wires for pierced ears).

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: Brooch: 1-5/8 inches (4.3 cm) in length without added top "O" fitting by 1-1/4 inches (3.2 cm) in width by ¼ of an inch (0.7 cm) in depth not including pin. Weight of 14.2 grams (9.1 dwt).

Earrings: 1-1/16 inches (2.6 cm) in length by 7/8 of an inch (2.2 cm) in width by 3/16 of an inch (0.6 cm) in depth. Weight of 12.5 grams (8 dwt) for the pair.

Condition: Excellent; minute amounts of dust under glass; brass backs have a bit of patina; later early 20th century screw ear fittings.

Date: Circa 1880.

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