Brooch – Victorian Lace Brooch
An antique gold-coloured lace¹ brooch designed as a horizontal pin decorated with a collet-set round cabochon-cut coral decorated with a twin element twisted rope boarder. Secured with a pin and hook. Circa 1880-1900.
Measuring: 38.26mm x 12.60mm.
Unhallmarked and no marks observed: tested and valued as 9ct gold.
Assessment of the Coral.
Measuring: 9.18mm x 9.18mm x 3.82mm.
Calculated weight: 2.30cts.
Colour: strong orangey pink (10R.10/7).
Condition: fair (coral has feature on reverse side²).
¹. The (trade catalogues of London based jewellers of 1900) show page after page of small brooches which were functional as well as decorative. A woman’s dress or blouse front was often trimmed with deep falls of lace and little brooches of this kind were intended to keep it in order (Peter Hinks, ‘Victorian Jewellery’, 1991). Such was the nature of these garments that several brooches were sometimes called for, and when described for sale the jeweller would list the price as being ‘per dozen’, though they could be purchased signally. This Victorian method of wearing these small brooches stems from ‘lace pins’; brooches intended to secure the folds of a fichu (flimsy lace scarf), which originated in 18th century England. Lace pins usually operate with a clasp that employs a circular twist at the bend to act as a spring and hold it in place.
². A shallow groove is observed on the revere, which in our considered opinion suggests this coral was originally (or intended) to be a spherical bead, re-purposed into this piece of jewellery.