Spotlight On: Pearl and Paste Brooch

May 4, 2010

As the 19th Century approached, styles altered greatly, with the size of the previous pieces growing smaller and the importance of symbolism being held in the materials used and not in paintings on ivory or vellum.

Stages of mourning, the move away from romanticism and the techniques of jewellery construction made pieces more accessible to the greater public with more mobility in price and with different levels of grandeur.

This piece, shows the signs of the transition of the neoclassical period in the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Stemming from around 1820, this piece shows how the oval shape in neoclassical jewellery had evolved into a smaller, rounder design. Compare this with the larger navette shapes (which would often hold large mementoes, such as miniatures), the oval shrank down to accommodate simple hairwork mementoes.

Much jewellery of this time began to reduce in size and followed form, circular or geometric patterns and clean enamel lines were quite prevalent during the Regency period. Style constantly evolved, rather than halt altogether.

An important thing to note on this piece is that it shows evidence of a marriage between items. The prongs with the paste doesn’t blend perfectly with the interior brooch, hence it may have been re-appropriated as a latter-stage mourning piece. The hair and the original brooch appear to be largely untouched, rather than the hair memento replaced (which is much more common).

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