Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Unusual Artifacts: A Gold Brooch Adorned With Teeth, 1853

Gold Brooch With Stag Teeth
R. and S. Garrard and Company, 1853
Presented to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert
The Royal Collection
Prince Albert was an avid hunter.  He spent winters at Windsor Castle and summers at Balmoral in pursuit of game.  One of his favorite little “signatures,” was the presentation of stags’ teeth to friends and loved ones.  He felt that the gift of these teeth was a fitting memento of himself.  While it’s rather peculiar, the idea was a an appropriate one as these teeth do neatly represent Albert’s spirit.  Prince Albert regularly sent parcels of stags’ teeth to Garrards (the Royal jeweler during Victoria’s time on the throne) so that they could be mounted.  He would often present favorite friends and members of the staff with gold pins or buttons which set the teeth like acorns nestled among the leaves.  Queen Victoria was the frequent recipient of Albert’s dental trophies.  She enjoyed them for sentimental reasons.  On Christmas of 1853, Prince Albert presented Queen Victoria with this specially designed brooch of polished teeth mounted with gold oak leaves.  She was a fortunate wife and queen that year—he also gave her a matching necklace and earrings, presumably with more teeth.


Anonymous said...

The brooch is very pretty, but, the thought of wearing stag teeth is a little off putting. Maybe more than a little.

Joseph said...

I would vote for, "more than a little." Pearls, I think, would have been a better choice. But, it definitely makes a statement.