As museums opened across Europe in the 19th century, people flocked to marvel at the treasures of the past -- and then they wanted the look. This led to a series of historical revivals, including Classical, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo, as well the medievalist style we see here, often called Victorian Gothic or "Gothick" to avoid confusion with the original term. The Austrians (who became Austro-Hungarians around 1860) did particularly lovely work in this vein, aided by long mastery of enameling, which was central to the style. Also arguing for East European origin are the jewel's Byzantine design, suggesting a Maltese cross, and its exotic color scheme, which pairs enamelwork resembling Persian turquoise with 19 amethyst pastes of Bohemian quality, all beautifully faceted and prong-set. The large central stone is open at the back, while the others are foiled, as was typical of the era. Further details of fabrication support an 1860s dating. Note the open C clasp, elongated pinstem and hinge of a form that began replacing the old "T" type during the 1850s.
A very great deal of work went into this spectacular brooch and it's been treated like the treasure it is. High magnification is required to notice any loss of gilding or enamel, except gilt wear on the reverse. Size is approximately an inch round and provenance is a Deep South estate.
I recently saw a new designer brooch similar to this but not half as nice, which was priced at $675, so this is a fantastic deal on an authentic investment-quality antique jewel. To get even more value, don't forget it can be beautifully styled as choker necklace or hair ornament, just by pinning it onto a ribbon. It would also be dynamite on a hat or bag, or to turn a scarf into a sash!
There's no charge for insured U.S. Priority shipping, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and elegant gift-wrap is always free on request. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!