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Victorian Amusement: Butterfly Earrings

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The mid Victorian era was also referred to as the Grand Period. It was a time of exposure to all sorts of exotica and scientific inquiry. As a result of this new found delight in novelty and nature, motifs used for jewelry took a rather interesting route. One of those avenues was jewelry which featured insects. Beetles and grasshoppers, flies and bees realistic and stylized buzzed around on ears, wrists and bosoms.

This pair of vermeil (pale gold over sterling silver) earrings illustrates the queen of transformation – that of a butterfly. Delicate appearing wings emerging from a realistic thorax are engraved with detailed patterns. Resting upon a hollow orb of gold over silver, antennae vibrate in anticipation of the next sweet meal.

Date: Circa 1880 for the earrings, modern for the ear wires.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: 1-1/2 inches (3.7 cm) in length including ear wire by 9/16 of an inch (1.3 cm) in width. Weight of 4.0 grams (2.6 dwt) for the pair.

Condition: Excellent; a few minute indentations on the orbs only visible with the closest of examination; modern ear wires.

Origin: Most likely English.

Note: All metals are acid tested.

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