18th C. Garnet Witch’s Heart Brooch
The silhouette or outline of a heart with a slight upturn at the end is referred to as a witch’s heart. Originating around the 14th century, this iconic heart shape took the form of a brooch to be pinned onto the bunting of a baby. It served dual roles – as an amulet to keep a child safe or was presented to a loved one for protection from evil. Around the 18th century the meaning of the form evolved and it became a love token. When once bestowed the recipient would become “bewitched to fall in love” with the donor.
This particular late 18th century brooch is a very fine Georgian example. Of the traditional silver, the heart has all its original almandine garnets set as only a Georgian jeweler would – in rub over collets, foiled and set closed back so that the piece still remains air tight. The reverse reveals the tube hinge, the only type used prior to 1880 and a C clasp. More than 230 years old, the brooch remains in choice condition and exemplifies the master level of Georgian jewelers.
Date: Circa 1780.
Measurements: 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length when worn by 15/16 of an inch (2.3 cm) in width. Weight of 3.1 grams (2.0 dwt).
Condition: Excellent; tube hinge and C clasp connection points have been reinforced with silver solder long ago.
Origin: Most likely English or Scottish.
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