Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Clockwork Peacock Brooch, c. 1880

The Victoria & Albert Museum

This would never be considered the finest jewel I’ve ever written about.  But, it’s cute and it does stuff.  An inexpensive  brooch, this is a great example of the cheaper, mass produced jewelry that was within the financial means of the middle and lower classes. This sort of novelty with a clockwork mechanism was meant to be worn for fun more so than fashion.

You see, the peacock’s tail feathers , when the mechanism is wound, revolve.  This bauble of  a gilded copper alloy is set with paste and adorned with bright enamel.  Made in Germany in 1880-1890, it’s a miracle that this brooch survives in working condition.  

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