Luminous Natural Pearl Sévigné Bow Brooch
Pearls have been prized and coveted by queens and nobility, traders and gentry, paupers and the bourgeoisie alike for their rarity, luster and allure. There is nothing quite like the color, luminescence and sheer elegance of pearls. Literally encrusted with natural freshwater pearls on every square millimeter, this is a splendid bow brooch. Marquise de Sévigné was a notable figure in the court of Louis XIV. A style of jewelry using a bow and drops became fashionable during the late 17th and early 18th century and thus named after this famous gentleman. This brooch derives from this and is known as a Sévigné brooch.
The pearls are of varying sizes from slightly larger than seed pearl (1 mm) to a lush size of nearly 7 mm for the central button pearl. Most range around 3 - 4 mm. There are 106 larger pearls - not even counting are smaller pearls of which there are over another 100! Each is individually drilled, a gold wire with the end beaded, is threaded through the hole through to the back and then carefully wrapped and secured on the reverse. The pearls line the bow in rows and rows. Colors range from ice cream white to some having an amber cast. They reflect pinks, blues, greens and purples wonderfully. All are natural and appear to be original to the brooch. It is positively radiant. The drop of grapes at the bottom is also studded with these creamy white gems. The mount is silver gilt, with 22 k heavy gilding. The patina is something to see, appearing untouched for countless years it has acquired that special feel that only early jewelry can. The brooch is entirely hand made, evidenced by is slightly imperfect hand of the artisan. This was formerly a slide worn on a ribbon but this mount was removed. Early in the 20th century it was transformed into a brooch with safety catch and tube hinge.
It is a perfect scale, not too large or too small. It measures 2 ¼ inches wide by the same long (5.8 cm). The grape drop measures 1 inch long (from the top bale) by 5/8 of an inch wide (2.5 cm by 1.6 cm). The wiring has been done more recently so is secure. In very good condition. Most likely Southern Italian in origin and dating from 1690-1720.
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