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Victorian queen bee brooch with diamonds sapphire and emeralds

Antique jewelry object group: brooch

Condition: excellent condition
  -  (more info on our condition scale)

Country of origin: Although it does not carry any legible control marks we believe this to be of Belgian origin.

Style: Victorian - Victorian decorative arts refers to the style of decorative arts during the Victorian era. The Victorian era is known for its eclectic revival and interpretation of historic styles and the introduction of cross-cultural influences from the middle east and Asia in furniture, fittings, and Interior decoration. Victorian design is widely viewed as having indulged in a regrettable excess of ornament. The Arts and Crafts movement, the aesthetic movement, Anglo-Japanese style, and Art Nouveau style have their beginnings in the late Victorian era.
  -  See also: Victorian or more info on styles

Style specifics: The Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period - Experts divide the reign of Queen Victoria, also called The Victorian era (1837-1901) into three periods of about twenty years each; The Romantic Victorian Period (1837 - 1860), The Grand Victorian Period (1860 - 1880), and the Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period (1880 - 1901).

We consider this to be of The Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period.

Jewelry of this period is changing back from heavy to more smaller, romantic pieces with often whimsical motifs. Jewelers using diamonds and bright gemstones in elaborated and fine feminine pieces.

Period: ca. 1890
  -  (events & facts of this era, poetry of this era, fashion of this era)

Theme: Bee - The bee, found in Ancient Near East and Aegean cultures, was believed to be the sacred insect that bridged the natural world to the underworld. Appearing in tomb decorations, Mycenaean tholos tombs were even shaped as beehives. Bee motifs are also seen in Maya cultures, an example being the Ah-Muzen-Cab, the Bee God, found in Maya ruins, likely designating honey-producing cities (who prized honey as food of the gods).

In ancient Egypt, the bee was an insignia of kingship associated particularly with Lower Egypt, where there may even have been a Bee King in pre-dynastic times. After the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, this symbol was incorporated in the title usually preceding the throne name of pharaoh. Honey bees, signifying immortality and resurrection, were royal emblems of the Merovingians, revived by Napoleon. The bee is also the heraldic emblem of the Barberini.

In heraldry, the bee symbolizes diligence and indefatigable effort. Someone is said to be busy as a bee when he or she works tirelessly and regardless of schedules or breaks. (from: Wikipedia)

Material: 18k yellow gold and silver, see also: The silver on gold technique
  -  (more info on precious metals)

Technique: Gold-backed silver or the silver on gold technique. This technique finds its origin centuries ago, when jewelers believed that only a silver mounting could render the true beauty of a diamond. Backing the silver jewel with a (thin) layer of gold was a practical precaution taken to avoid the silver jewelry leaving black stains on clothing or skin. Over the years, with the recognition (and thus use) of platinum as precious metal and the development of white gold the practical necessity to use bi-colored material became obsolete. The argument to use bi-colored metals became more an esthetic then a practical one.

Extra information: Bees - Bees figure prominently in mythology and have been used by political theorists as a model for human society.

Despite the honey bee's painful sting and the stereotype of insects as pests, bees are generally held in high regard. This is most likely due to their usefulness as pollinators and as producers of honey, their social nature, and their reputation for diligence.

In ancient Egypt, the bee was seen to symbolize the lands of Lower Egypt, with the Pharaoh being referred to as "He of Sedge and Bee" (the sedge representing Upper Egypt). (From: Wikipedia)

Diamond(s): 20 rose cut diamonds. We do not have the weight of the diamonds which is normal in our trade when it comes to rose cuts.

Precious stones: One sapphire with an estimated weight of 0.75ct. (colour etc.: blue)
Treatment: unknown
Two emeralds with an estimated weight of ct. (colour etc.: green)
Treatment:unkwown
- All color stone weights are approximate since stones are not removed from their mounts to preserve the integrity of the setting.

Birthstones: Diamond is the birthstone (or month stone) for April, and sapphire for September. and emerald for May.
  -  (more info on birthstones)

More background information on: styles overview, victorian, rose cut diamond jewelry,

Hallmarks: No trace.
  -  (more info on hallmarks)

Dimensions: Lenght: 3,00 cm (1,18 inch) - Width: 4,00 cm (1,57 inch)

Weight: 9,20 gram (5,92 dwt)

Reference Nº: 18115-0011

Copyright photography: Adin, fine antique jewelry



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Victorian queen bee brooch with diamonds sapphire and emeralds
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