The Arts & Crafts movement and ladies’ magazines inspired busy hands in Late Victorian and Edwardian homes, where moms and daughters crafted trendy jewels and fashion accessories. I'll bet this enchanting antique brooch, which obviously commemorates the dazzling show put on by Halley's Comet, was just such a project -- made by a talented Edwardian lady for herself or as a very special gift. These old pastes, so much brighter than our modern rhinestones, were perfect for a comet jewel and so was the wonderfully iridescent mother-of-pearl from which a stylized comet was cut and then given incised details. Assembly was quite simple: The glittering row of stones is simply wired through two holes, one leading to the open "C" clasp and the other to the hinge. Thus, the stones have a bit of movement, which lets them flash even more fire. The only flaws I find are some waviness of the brass pinstem, inevitable after so long, and the fact that the point was shortened at some time (a very common adaptation, since the extra-long ones used until Art Deco days can easily draw blood).
From a New York estate, this unusual and charming jewel measures about 1 7/8 inches long and 5/8 of an inch wide. Comet jewelry always makes a great conversation piece.
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