This splendid antique brooch of 900-hallmarked silver is of a style enjoyed through much of the Victorian era -- and particularly in the 1850s and 1860s, when the construction and gala opening of the Suez Canal drew Europeans' attention to such Middle Eastern design motifs as the crescent. It may even have been fashioned in Egypt, since the 900 silver mark was commonly used there (as well as in some nations of Continental Europe).
Beautifully hand-made, the brooch features 11 faceted diamond paste stones (probably Bohemian) that are graduated in size. Their twinkle is extended to the very tips of the crescent by applied wirework that resembles granulation, creating a pattern of silver dots also declining in size. Both the pastes and these details are recessed within elevated edges. There are also elevated outlines enclosing each paste. A lot more dimensionality and quality than we'd expect are packed into this beauty, which measures 1 7/8 inches tall and about 3/4 inch wide.
The sturdy old T-hinge here is of a type often superceded by the 1850s the tube style(in common use by 1870), so I feel extremely confident in a mid-19th century dating for this jewel. The pin stem (also very thick and sturdy) remains elongated, as was right for the period, but shows evidence of having been shortened from an even greater length (not a bad idea, since the long ones became dangerous after women stopped wearing layers of elaborate underclothing). The clasp is of course the open C used until the earliest safety clasps came along at the end of the 19th century.
Provenance is an English estate and condition of the jewel is excellent, despite the delicacy of high-purity silver. It takes high magnification to notice the few teensy dings along the edges. There's very little wear to the pastes, because they're recessed and carefully tipped in their compartments as gems would be.
A very similar brooch, a bit smaller, is offered elsewhere online at $375, so our price represents an outstanding value -- all the more so now, during the holiday sale.
There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and lovely gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!