Brooch – Victorian Bar Brooch
An antique Victorian bar brooch¹ arranged as a fretwork symmetrical design with curlicued wire-work and gemstones in yellow and rose gold-coloured² materials. Secured with a pin and hook. Circa 1890-1900.
Assessment of the Gemstones.
Garnet topped doublet.
Cut: oval mixed-cut.
Measuring: 5.65mm x 3.90mm.
Almandine garnets³ (two).
Averages stated where applicable.
Cuts: round single-cuts.
Estimated total weight: 0.20cts.
Details of the Setting.
Measuring: 38.30mm x 12.30mm.
Unhallmarked: tested and valued as 9ct gold.
Sponsor’s mark: ‘W&S’.
¹. Bar brooches appeared in the 1890s and immediately enjoyed a great success. In its simplest form the bar brooch was plainly set with a single diamond, but its functional shape offered the jeweller a field in which to exploit their fantasy and imagination, thus bar brooches were decorated with crescents and stars, sprays of leaves and flowers, pheasants and chanticleers, swallows and flies, shamrocks and clovers (David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti 'Understanding Jewellery', 1989).
². Gold is too soft to be used in jewellery in its purist state and it is always alloyed with some other metal to make it more durable. As one might expect, this kind of metal mixed with the gold influences the colour of the resulting alloy; a proportion of copper results in a reddish shade and silver gives metal with a strange greenish cast. Even blue gold can be obtained by adding a small percentage of iron (Peter Hinks, 'Nineteenth Century Jewellery', 1975).
³. The name garnet does not refer to a single gemstone but rather a group of minerals which share similar chemical compositions and crystallise in the same system. The most commonly encountered are the reddish-brown stone, which although not rare can be very beautiful, and are called pyrope. The term almandine is derived from a small city in the Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), called ‘Alabanda’. The ‘precious almandine’ of the nineteenth century was considered the violetish-red, a colour said to be in vogue at the time (John D. Rouse, ‘Garnet’, 1986). When seen at its best the colour resembles a fine Claret and was in great demand in the nineteenth century, as the prevailing fashion of a pale completion and use of textured gold particularly suited the colour of the gemstone.