A Beautiful Antique Diamond and Natural Pearl Shell Brooch

A beautiful Victorian diamond and pearl shell brooch c.1880s, the three-dimensional scallop shell of oval outline set throughout with old European brilliant cut diamonds in silver backed with gold, the rows of diamonds all radiating outwards from the centre which is set with a lovely creamy white natural bouton pearl, with a single pin brooch fitting to the reverse. The use of the pearl enhances the watery theme of this brooch, conjouring images of bright blue salty seas and golden beaches. The diamonds are bright and lively and the concave shape and scrolled top add a note of realism to this lovely antique jewel.

Further Details

Gemstones and Other MaterialsRound, creamy white bouton natural saltwater pearl 11mm x 11mm x 7mm with GCS certificate 7.16cts
71 x old cut diamonds estimated to weigh a combined total of approximately 5cts
Condition ReportVery fine
SettingSilver on gold
Weight15 grams
Dimensions3.1cm / 1.2" wide and 3.5cm / 1.3" tall
PeriodVictorian, circa 1880s

Directors Notes

The scallop shell has long been used as a symbol of courage, strength and hope. Closely associated with Saint James, it became a talisman for early Christian pilgrims who would carry one for practical as well as spiritual purposes. A scallop shell could be used as an alms collection plate, an eating utensil or to scoop water to drink from. On returning home safely, pilgrims and knights would keep their shell as a memento and good luck charm. Still today, people who walk the famous Camino de Santiago in northern Spain are guided by scallop shell markers and frequently wear one during the long and challenging walk to the resting place of Saint James in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.


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