Comet jewels are scarce and highly collectible, and this antique comet stickpin is a particularly elegant example. Among the finest stickpins we've ever offered, it beautiful head is set with a central half pearl of good size plus six more lustrous seed pearls. These would almost certainly be natural sea pearls, since the process of culturing pearls had barely begun then.
To the modern eye, the head suggests a flower, but pieces like this were in fact intended to represent comets (the stem-like portion being the comet's tail, while the petals form a star). It was an approach typical since Georgian times, and indeed the pin could conceivably have commemorated a much earlier comet -- even Halley's passage in 1835, rather than 1910. The look wouldn't have differed. We're opting for the later date, mainly because of the 14k gold stamp, maker mark and excellence of construction associated with Edwardian times. Here the goldsmith managed to attach the stock with no visible solder marks; it actually appears to be all of one piece! The maker's stamp, resembling a cross or bird within an oval cartouche, is unknown to me, so please tell me if you can identify it.
In superb condition, showing no damage to either gold or pearls, the pin measures about 1 13/16 inches long and 5/16 of an inch at its widest. Provenance is a Boston area estate.
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