A beautiful antique Pinchbeck gold pendant brooch crafted in a lovers Gordian knot/stylised ouroboros form, a jewellery motif representative of eternity and a thread so entwined it will never come apart.
Dating to the Georgian or early Victorian era this bright yellow gold coloured jewel is fashioned in the Etruscan revival style with applied wirework and set with superb cushion cut paste rubies. The back has a sturdy steel pin for wear as a brooch and there is a closed hook at the top for wear as a pendant.
We are including a new 18ct gold filled chain to wear it as a pendant, the high carat chain plating matches the colour of the piece and we did test drive it worn as a pendant, it works well lying nice and flat with the pin back unobtrusive.
"Pinchbeck" is an antique gold substitute invented in 1720 by London watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck. A bright yellow alloy of zinc, copper and tin that is resistant to tarnish it closely resembled the high carat gold of the Georgian era. During this period the only gold sold was 18 to 22-carat quality so the development of Pinchbeck allowed ordinary people to buy gold ‘effect’ jewellery on a budget, it was also worn by the well-to-do in places like stagecoaches where there was often a very real risk of being robbed.
Pinchbeck jewellery was often plated in high carat gold which intensified the yellow colour making it even harder to distinguish it from the real thing. Although the inventor allegedly made Pinchbeck jewellery clearly labelled as such, later dishonest jewellers passed it off as gold and its name became a metaphor for a "cheap and tawdry imitation". It fell out of general use in the second half of the 19th century when it was replaced by more affordable lower carat gold which had been legalised in 1854. Today genuine Pinchbeck jewellery is highly prized and collectable in its own right!
Steeped in history and interest this charming example of authentic Pinchbeck jewellery would make a beautiful and distinctive addition to your antique jewellery collection.
MATERIALS: Pinchbeck metal alloy, gold gilding
GEMSTONES: 5 paste (glass) rubies
MEASUREMENTS: 2-1/8" long, 1-1/4" tall (55x32mm). Chain 16" (40cm)
WEIGHT: 14 grams
DATE: Circa 1830 - Georgian/Victorian
CONDITION: in very good antique condition with a little light age related tarnish, the pastes are in good shape and the pin back is in good order, please see the photos
At Mercy Madge we offer antique and vintage jewellery that is special and each piece is hand selected by us for you. We rarely come across two identical old treasures, once they are gone, they are truly gone!
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Materials: Pinchbeck, Paste Ruby, Gold Gilding.