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.