Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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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