Item of the Week:
A very rare gold mounted,Victorian, owl themed mourning brooch comprising a scrolled gold oval mount with black enamel embellished with gold floral flourishes. The Victorians honoured their dead with elaborate mourning traditions often deeply entwined with outward appearance, and thus, clothing and jewellery. Mourning jewellery came in all shapes, sizes and forms; rings, brooches, pendants, and watches were often decorated with black enamel, jet, agate, or other dark gemstones. There is a central oval lava disc, in 3 dimensional form, of an owl’s head, which is very intricately carved, and features glass bead eyes. The reverse of the brooch is plain, but features a push-fit frame with a glass insert, suitable for enclosing a photograph or — as they’d have done in Victorian times — a lock of hair.
Most likely the piece of lava came from someone’s grand tour, as this was a popular souvenir to bring back from Italy. This brooch will be British, and the owl cameo a later addition. The gold on black effect is achieved using enamel. The brooch secures to the reverse with a hinged pin and hook fastening. Circa 1880.
With its beautiful carved owl, this unusual brooch would be perfect for the Harry Potter fan in your life.
Unmarked but tests as 9ct yellow gold. Approximate length: 4.5cm/1.75″. Approximate width: 5.5cm/2.2″