A very unusual and highly decorative English antique Victorian tortoiseshell pique brooch fashioned as a snakes head holding a large graduated hoop in its jaw.
The brooch showcases exquisite workmanship with the tortoiseshell inlaid in gold and silver flower, lines and scroll motifs that are both intricate and beautiful. The snake head is pegged onto the top of the hoop and it has a ring behind it with a long safety chain attached which adds even more to the decorative appeal of this unique brooch.
The pique inlay is made from sheets of real gold and silver with the brooch fittings in a gold plated base metal, the sturdy extra long pin stem is steel. An absolute beauty, one of the finest examples of pique work we have seen in a long while. The technique for making pique, inlaying gold and silver into tortoiseshell or ivory, was brought to England by the Huguenots when they were expelled from France in the late 17th Century.
MATERIALS: gold, silver, tortoiseshell
MEASUREMENTS: 2-1/8" (5.5cm) tall, 1-1/2" (4cm) wide
DATE: circa 1870, Victorian
WEIGHT: 7.6 grams
CONDITION: In very good antique condition with the gold and silver bright, no major nicks, and all the pique present. Appears to be an old repair where the snake head joins the hoop, or it may have been made this way, nevertheless the head is solidly attached to the hoop. The pin back is in good working order and it fastens securely.
At Mercy Madge we offer a carefully curated collection of antique and vintage jewellery. Each piece is hand selected with you in mind and we rarely come across two identical old treasures, once they are gone, they are truly gone!
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