Monday, January 3, 2011

Mastery of Design: The British Alliance Brooch, 1855

John Linnit for Garrard & Co, 1855
Gold, Silver, Diamonds, Rubies,
Sapphires, Emeralds and Enamel
The Royal Collection
Designed under the supervision of Prince Albert (as was most of Queen Victoria’s jewelry), this brooch of gold, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and enamel was created to symbolize the alliance between Britain, France and Turkey during the Crimean War.

The Royal jewelers at R. & S. Garrard & Co. commissioned jeweler John Linnit to create the brooch for Her Majesty. Linnit was celebrated for his intricate jeweled boxes and his ability to create glittering mosaics from precious stones. Linnit carefully set and enameled the piece which features the flags of Britain and France flanking the symbols of Turkey—a crescent moon and star. A laurel of emeralds represents peace. Upon a cerulean blue enamel sash, the date 1855 has been written in gold.

Prince Albert presented the brooch to Queen Victoria on Christmas Day of 1855. This is one of the pieces of her personal collection of jewelry that she willed to the State upon her death.

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