Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: The Countess Harley Teleki Heart Brooch, 1610-20

Brooch of gold, enamel, rubies, diamonds and emeralds, 1610-20
The Victoria & Albert Museum

A brooch such as this would have been given as a token of love. Made between 1610 and 1620, it features a design of a heart pierced by arrows—a reference to Cupid which was widely used from the Renaissance onward. This jeweled brooch is also a locket which was probably made in Prague, in a workshop of the Imperial Habsburg court.

The piece is crafted of enameled gold, set with table-cut diamonds, rubies and emeralds. The emeralds are unique in that they are centrally bezel-set with small cabochon rubies.  In the center, a ruby is set within a heart-shaped gold frame and pierced by two arrows. The locket in the reverse of the jewel contains the miniature portrait in enamel of an unknown man behind a wee door which has been enamelled with red roses. The piece was once in the collection of the Countess Harley Teleki. 

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