Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: The Opal Heart, 1875

Brooch of opal, demantoid garnet and diamonds, c. 1875
The Victoria & Albert Museum

A symbol of love, this heart-shaped brooch would have been a suitable gift of affection. In the mid-Nineteenth Century, such symbols were considered appropriate gifts during a courtship. Jewels in the shape of hearts, cupids, flowers, hands, anchors, knots, birds, or musical instruments each had special meanings, but ultimately conveyed a romantic interest, just as they do today.

This lovely piece is crafted in gold with opal, tsavorite or green demantoid garnets and diamonds. It’s provenance is unknown, but it has been speculated as having been made in the U.S. or, possible, Central Europe. 

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