Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Victorian chrysoberyl and garnet brooch

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,682
I just posted my new jewel on the Show Us Your Chrysoberyls thread in CS, but I thought you antiques fans might enjoy seeing it too. It's a pair of Victorian brooches attached with a chain. I think it's a marriage rather than an original pairing, but a happy one. One brooch is set with four rhodolite garnets and five chrysoberyls; the other is set with four rhodolite garnets and two white sapphires. I can't decide whether the brooches are from c. 1860s-80s or late Georgian--I think probably the later period. The piece came with one of those silly appraisals claiming it's worth seven times what I paid for it, but the appraisal's description seems competent. (To be fair, I bought it for the melt value of the gold, assuming the description of the gold content is accurate, so it probably IS "worth" more than I paid.) One brooch is 18K and the other 14K, according to the appraisal. At least one clasp is a replacement. The larger brooch is tarnished on the back and one side, as if it lay for years half exposed to something acidic or outgassing. I can't decide whether to try to clean off the tarnish or leave it as it is. I think it may be flashed or gilded with higher-karat gold, and I'm afraid that any attempt to polish it will remove the gilding/flashing and just make it look uneven. I'm also worried about getting polish behind the stones' closed settings. (Does anyone have an opinion?) The photos show the color and the tarnish pretty accurately. It's very sparkly and rich looking; I'm inclined to leave it be. IMG_9712.jpeg
IMG_9703.jpeg
IMG_9708.jpeg IMG_9701.jpeg
IMG_9702.jpeg
 

Roselina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
488
Wow! That is so pretty! Leave it and have it professionally cleaned. What does the inscription on the back say?
 
Last edited:

PreRaphaelite

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
2,740
Just gorgeous! What a special and rare treasure!
You’ve asked for opinions on whether to polish/clean or not. In historic preservation there’s a theory of ’Benign Neglect’ that would serve your antique piece in my opinion. Procrastination on your decision would be a wonderful thing!

In the meantime, how will you wear it? Color match/contrast? On a coat or jacket? At the waist of a dress? Do tell!
 

stracci2000

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
4,398
I agree with @PreRaphaelite
Leave it as is. Any kind of polishing compound will get hung up in the texture and will give the whole thing a darker look.
I would just gently wipe all areas with a soft cloth. This will help the non-textured areas and high spots to be a little brighter.

It's really fabulous!
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,682
Okay, I’m leaving the surface as it is, but storing it in acid-free air proof storage to make sure it doesn’t tarnish further.

@PreRaphaelite, at the moment I’m “wearing” it in the palm of my hand so I can admire it! But when the weather cools down and if I ever get to see anyone in person again, I’ll probably wear it on the lapel of a jacket or at the shoulder or throat of a sweater. If the two pins weren’t attached by a chain—which I’m sure was done later—I might wear the big one around my neck on a ribbon or a chain through the loop where the current chain attaches to it. I believe that loop used to be a hook for attaching a pendant. It’s big enough for a chain bail or thin ribbon to go through it. I’m considering removing the current chain, maybe adding little spring clasps at the ends so I can wear the pins together sometimes and separately sometimes. Since the chain is not original, I wouldn’t feel bad about altering it. But none of this is happening any time soon, so feel free to talk me out of it!

One thing that’s puzzling me is the chrysoberyls. They certainly LOOK like chrysoberyls. They’re the right color, they flash like chrysoberyls, and they‘re such irregular shapes I think they must be natural stones, not paste. The appraisal, which is very professional looking and full of language about “using appropriate instruments and tests,” says they’re chrysoberyls. (Of course, the “appropriate instruments” could have just been a loupe.) And when I test them with my cheap little electronic diamond tester, they give the same result as my known chrysoberyls, close to sapphires and much higher than my various quartz stones (amethysts, agates)—and MUCH higher than glass. All of which suggests they ARE chrysoberyls. But some of them are pretty abraded around the crown facet edges, while the garnets aren’t. Garnets are much softer than chrysoberyls, so why are the chrysoberyls more abraded? I don’t think they’re citrines or paste because the electronic tester would not have gone so high if they were.

The “white sapphires“ do not test anything like my other sapphires on the electronic tester. I think they’re probably just rock crystal/quartz. (They test a bit higher than glass.) So that’s evidence that the appraiser could get things wrong.

Maybe the chrysoberyls ARE chrysoberyls, but were originally set in another piece of jewelry, such as a ring, and took a beating for a few decades before being reset into the brooch in the 1870s or so? I think chrysoberyls were more popular in the Georgian period than the later Victorian period?

I don’t mind much what they are—I’m just curious. I’m confident they’re original to the piece, and they’re very pretty.
 

collier

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2011
Messages
222
Wow! What a treasure. It is stunning and there are so many ways you could wear it. If you enjoy looking at it, you could pin it to your cuff, or to a leather strap etc.
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,682
Thank you for the kind words, jewelry friends! I'm considering wearing it pinned to my face mask... ;-)
 

asterismdispersion

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
37
Thank you for sharing your beautiful find! The puffiness of the leaves and shaping of the knots make this so three dimensional and textured. It is a great-looking pair. I have a soft spot for antique pieces with semiprecious stones in them and this is a unique combination.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Style File: Julia Roberts
    Style File: Julia Roberts
    Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations
    Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations
    Tennis Bracelet Love
    Tennis Bracelet Love

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top