This unforgettable brooch is a stunning example of Victorian mourning jewelry. All the rage throughout the Victorian period and extending back to the 1600s, mourning jewelry was created as a keepsake to remember a loved one. After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, the style was popularized when Queen Victoria entered a period of mourning that extended until the end of her life. This gold filled piece, circa 1870, features the classic tropes of mourning jewelry with its black enamel work and golden lettering that reads “IN MEMORY OF.” The pin back has the traditional early C clasp and pin which extends past the width of the brooch. One of the charms of these early handwrought pieces is that you can see evidence of the jeweler, from his hammer marks on the back of the brooch to the crude solder on the pin back and the bezel (see photos). We love the evidence of the hands that made this. The large, oval, banded agate cabochon is crown-set in the center of the piece. The use of agate in this brooch is indicative of the English obsession with Scottish agate and carnelian after Queen Victoria’s frequent visits to her Scottish castle. The brooch is garnished with a raised golden vine motif that encircles the lettering.
Very Good antique condition. The brooch has some normal signs of its age. There is a small chip and some flea bites to the agate near the crown setting by the word "OF" and "IN," as well as on top in the same section. The chip and flea bites are not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen through a magnifying lens. There is a small ding on the back of the brooch.
The piece measures approximately 1 5/8” by 1 3/8” and 1/2” deep. The central agate stone measures approximately 22mm by 18mm.