Lavish Early 18th Century Garnet Brooch
Opulence is personified in this garnet brooch of the first part of the Georgian period. Formerly this was an aigrette or hair ornament placed in the powdered wigs of the day. It was then turned into a brooch to suite changing fashions and for ease of wearing. It is truly spectacular, with the surface encrusted with rich foiled flat cut garnets in a giardinetti or garden bouquet of flowers. Typical of the earlier part of the century, the design is stylized and more formal and is asymmetrical in overall form. Notice the there are several varieties of flowers dotting the surface – over seven (7) in all along with leaf forms and even a tiny bee below the top large flower on the right! And the stem is no ordinary one, but actually a snake sneaking out of the garden. The garnets are dazzling, a very pinkish hue with hints of deep purple and with great sparkle and refraction, rather like rubies than garnets. They are a bit more pink than photos show.
One of the finer examples of early garnet jewelry, this dates to circa 1730-1740 and consists of eighty (80) garnets in various cuts, square, round, oval, teardrop, and irregular shapes all to bring to life this dramatic jewel. The stones are set in finely crafted rub over settings of silver gilt with the center stone in a square toothed bezel setting. Notice the very tight and perfect fit of each surround of metal. The hue of the gold is a soft pale gold and has acquired a warm patina over the centuries. The workmanship is quite fine and one cannot believe such sparkle can be obtained from garnets, but this rare remnant of the grandeur of the 18th century proves us wrong.
Measures 2 7/8 inches long by 1 15/16 inches wide at the widest (7.3 cm by 4.9 cm). Notice too the lovely curvature overall which sits beautifully on clothing. In excellent condition with later tube hinge, pin stem and safety clasp. The garnets appear all original in the original mounts, English in origin.