Extremely rare Scottish agate brooch, circa 1860-1880. This brooch set in sterling, has finely inlaid agates set invisibly one to the other. The colors meld so perfectly that the eye catches the subtle play of color uninterrupted by any adornments. The striping is created by several pieces of agates placed together, seamlessly forming a pattern. What is also distinctive, is the central sterling silver cross, the Cross of St. Andrew. It is as subtle as the beautiful colors of the agates. The top and bottom sections have a heart, also subtle and symbolic. This type of work is the most refined and would have required the finest skills of a lapidary.
It is large, measuring 2 1/2 inches across X 1 5/8 down. All the agates are in fine condition and original. The reverse shows some dings in the silver,and an early repair to the pin stem. The pin stem could be replaced if desired aesthetically, but is perfectly secure. The top circle on the reverse is where a small silver O ring would have been present to attach a safety chain. This is an art form, quite rare and expertly executed. The geometry and the design has created a remarkably modern appearance. The beauty is created not by engraving or gemstones, but by the restraint of the design and the choice of agates. Distinctively Scottish, circa 1860.