Our impressive intaglio brooch features the head of a Trojan War hero (perhaps Achilles), unless I miss my guess. Remember the phrase "long-haired Achaeans" from Homer? Those look like curls at the base of his helmet!
As a Greek Revival piece, the jewel likely dates from the Late Georgian or Regency period. It was in 1806, when Lord Elgin brought pieces of the Parthenon from Athens to London, that the English passion for the purity of Greek design was ignited. Like the intaglio, exquisitely carved from extremely dark amber, the construction of this piece has a very early look: It's built up architecturally, in layers, with abundant detail. There's a small hook on the crossbar at the back, for hanging a watch, another jewel or chatelaine items.
I'm not sure about the underlying metal, since most of the rose gold gilding remains intact, but it's most likely silver since that's the color of the clasp hook. The other side of the clasp is absolutely fascinating: the pin hinge is encased in a sort of tulip form. There are signs that the pin stem has been shortened; it's blunter than you'd expect and under magnification looks a little ragged on the end. This was commonly done to save bloodshed, after women stopped wearing layers of heavy underclothing.
The intaglio measures a little larger than 1/2" square and its condition is excellent. Overall size of the brooch is about 1-3/4" by 1-1/4" and its condition is very good. Please note that the left ball-shaped cap is missing on the long horizontal piece. No doubt a competent jeweler could easily replace it. If the brooch were perfect, of course it would cost a great deal more, given the superlative quality of the intaglio.
There's no charge for insured U.S. delivery, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and beautiful gift-wrap is always free on request. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!