When Napoleon's newly established court was magnificent in its luxury, the Empress Josephine was famously fond of vermeil (gold on silver) filigree. Their heyday, which began in the 18th century, would end about as soon as the Empire. Why? It was discovered that the mercury then used to create "silver gilt" caused craftsmen to go blind. Decades would pass before a safer process was developed in early Victorian times: electroplating, which debuted in the 1840s. This marvelous brooch dates from that period, when women could finally enjoy gilt silver filigree again, without its taking a toll in misery.
Beautifully hand-crafted, this Early Victorian jewel bears the European silvermark 800, a star and the markings 18 GE - meaning it's surfaced with rich 18 karat gold, rather than the more common 14k. So little of the plate has been lost that wear is apparent only under extreme magnification. Besides its obvious historic interest to collectors, this is a very beautiful and feminine jewel any woman would delight in wearing. Gorgeously hand-crafted in floral form, it's almost an inch round and naturally has the old C clasp right for its period. Close inspection shows its elongated pinstem was at some point snipped for greater comfort.
There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and gift-wrap is always free if desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!