This is an elegant Victorian era, scallop shell shaped, brooch inlaid with a beautiful 14k gold and silver floral motif design. The brooch is made from tortoiseshell that’s been heated, shaped, and decorated with a gold and silver floral motif. The gold and silver inlay has been polished to lay flush against the tortoiseshell. It offers nice contrast to the dark brown tone of the shell.
The back of the brooch has the markings “JS”, likely a French maker. The piece measures about 1 1/2” by 1 1/2” at its widest points. It’s in very good condition but is missing a little silver, that's hard to notice because it’s missing from both sides.
Pique is a technique of inlaying precious metals into tortoiseshell that was brought to England by the Huguenots when they were expelled from France in the 17th Century. Pique, meaning "pierce", refers to the process of inlaying gold and silver into heated tortoiseshell to make beautiful floral and leaf patterns, as well as geometric designs.It reached its zenith during the reign of Queen Victoria. It is a process and art form that has been lost today making a brooch from this time period a rare find.
This rare piece of jewelry would make an excellent gift or addition to your jewelry collection!