Kirsten's Corner

Victorian 14K Gold Mechanical Eagle Pinchers or Tongs


This is a remarkable 14 karat gold mechanical handkerchief or dress train clip. Made in the likeness of an eagle head, the mechanical mouth opens and closes to clip onto a handkerchief or dress train. A ring at the end has a lever that when retracted opens and closes the mouth of the eagle. This object is all about the details. The head of eagle is finely sculpted, the bird with a heavy brow and delicate feathers.  The hexagon shaft that leads to the lever is decorated with hand engraved repeating motifs.  It is 3 1/4" in length and 5/8" wide and weighs 4.4 grams.

An object to be cherished, it comes in the original red satin and black velvet lined case that measures 4" x 1 1/2".  This item is very rare and is the only one I have seen.  Mechanical objects were popular during the Victorian era. It certainly took a gifted jeweler to make this expressive bird.

The Victorians had an object for everything—and this is a great example of a personal accessory. The ring would be worn on the finger, while a handkerchief or dress train would have been clipped into the eagle's beak so that it always dangled from a woman’s wrist. 

What is wonderful is that is looks great on a chain so it can be worn as a pendant as well.  Circa 1870 unmarked but tests as 14 karat gold.

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