John Brogden Garnet Diamond Pendant
The Grand Period of Victoriana (c. 1860-1880) is renowned for its examples of classical, archaeological and Renaissance revival jewelry. Men such as Castellani, Guiliano and Melillo are recognized the world over as masters in this genre. However, among that level of skilled master goldsmiths and jewelers is the name John Brogden, an Englishman who remains unrecognized by many Americans in spite of his exceptional craftsmanship and jewelry design.
Working from 1842 to 1885, Brogden’s work consisted not only of Etruscan revival but also included an extensive display of designs influenced by Renaissance and Holbeinesque forms. For numerous examples of his work and designs see Volume I and II of Jewellery 1789-1910 by Shirley Bury.
This signed mid 19th century pendant clearly demonstrates Brogden’s expertise in translating classical and archaeological forms in a meticulously crafted manner. A tactile twisted border of 15k yellow gold encloses a single garnet carbuncle (cabochon). The dome shaped gem supports two bisected lines of silver dotted with twenty-four (24) petite rose cut diamonds. At the center an old mine cut diamond accents the apex of the dome. To the reverse a glass covered locket compartment holds a feathered curl of brown hair and a tiny gold cypher now illegible.
Date: Circa 1870.
Historical Notes: Brogden won a silver medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 for his designs and a gold medal in 1878 at the London Exhibition. These exhibitions were monumentally influential around the world and were enormous undertakings. The Victoria and Albert Museum is in possession of his work in addition to having a collection of his design books. He died in 1884.
Measurements: 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length including bale by 13/16 of an inch (2.0 cm) in width. Weight of 9.0 grams (5.8 dwt).
Hallmarks: JB for John Brogden.
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