A tour de force of workmanship, this 18k gold Victorian brooch is hand tooled with stunning detail, lifelike in its intricacy. Its centerpiece is the head of a ram with Old Mine Cut rubies for eyes and horns that wrap around the body of the pin. The ram is mature: his horns are long from his many years of life and they intertwine with the pin with scrolling flourish. His fur is stippled, its texture emphasized by a glowing patina, while his horns are textured with elegantly carved lines that detail and shade the curves. The pin has a barbell-esque shape, with cubed terminals that feature Etruscan Revival cannetille work and floral medallions. The 18k gold has developed a gorgeous multicolored patina, lustrous in its hues of greens, coppers, and reds, giving added depth to this beautiful piece.
Etruscan Revival jewelry has a rich and interesting history. In the early 1800’s there was a large excavation of Etruscan tombs outside of Rome. Within these tombs were pieces of original Etruscan jewelry. The Etruscans were master artisans, they created breathtaking pieces of jewelry through their use of gold wirework and granulation, colored gemstones and glass. The news of the excavation of these tombs, and the treasures contained inside them, spread throughout Europe. Etruscan style jewelry captured the imagination of the public and soon jewelers were intrigued by the designs. Etruscan revival jewelry rose to popularity with the people of the Victorian era. Inspired by the Etruscans, jewelers implemented the use of wirework, beading, filigree, and granulation.
A substantial piece hand constructed from hollow gold, the brooch has a weight of 14.6 grams. Its length is 2 3/4”, height of the rams head is approximately 3/4” and height of the cubes are approximately 1/2”. The depth, at its thickest point, is approximately 3/4”. The brooch looks perfect styled on a blazer.
Circa 1870, this is the work of a Victorian jeweler who was clearly using this piece to show off their artistry and rendering skills!