The God Hermes Cameo Opal Stick Pin
The history of the stick pin (stickpin) can be a bit shrouded in controversy. Although most reputable sources date the item to the English and the beginnings of the 19th century as a device to secure the folds of a gentleman’s cravat, several references pinpoint 18th century France with women employing the stick pin to hold scarves in place. We at The Three Graces have our own favorite story regarding the initiation of these little treasures – the prototypical Dandy of all time, George Bryan Brummell aka Beau Brummell popularized its usage. No matter its humble or grand beginnings, the stickpin (and its various forms and derivations) is a terrific way to add a touch of color, accent a certain feature or just plain adorn the body.
This late 19th century example is a true work of art in miniature. Cleverly utilizing the crystalline matrix of an opal, the unique property of opalescence, the carver of this opal was able to accent the cheek with a play of colors.
Employing a classical theme, a realistically modeled right profile head and shoulders rendering of the Greek Olympian deity Hermes is represented wearing his iconic winged helmet. Genius and prankster from birth, he was the messenger of the gods and guide to the Underworld. The 9k yellow gold stick pin features a series of waves or twists designed to aid and abet with anchoring the pin in slippery fabrics such as silk.
Date: Circa 1890.
Measurements: 3-1/8 inches (7.9 cm) in length by 5/8 of an inch (1.6 cm) in width. Weight of 3.1 grams (2.0 dwt).
Condition: Excellent; one minute hairline surface crack only visible with magnification.
Note: The opal has been tested in our gemological laboratory and the gold acid tested.
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