An ornate and beautiful antique mourning brooch from the mid- Victorian era, c1875! The brooch is made of 14k yellow gold and features detailed embellishments which is reminiscent of the Etruscan-revival period which flourished from the mid 19th century. The three-dimensional relief design is adorned with fine Etruscan wire work and granulation throughout the front surface of the brooch. A dome oval-shaped profile rests at the center of a recessed section... adding a striking dimension to the piece! A corded border decorates the edge of the plump navette-shaped brooch.
The reverse of the brooch reveals a hidden surprise; A compartment graced with ash-blonde and brown hair work formed into a 'Prince of Wales' feather design, and often referred to as "Palette Work". Little seed pearls decorate the hair work and portray as a girdle or band (three seed pearls have become dislodged over the years). Seed pearls often depicted tears. Additionally, there is gold wire work either side of the seed pearls. All of this intricate work is set against a textured ivory-hue plaque. Two clear covers protects the hair work - a plastic cover to the top and likely a crystal cover underneath (seen under magnification).
Along the lower back rim is hand engraved with the words "IN MEMORY OF LOUIE" and what appears to be initials to the upper rim, possibly "AI". The piece also bears a British registration diamond-shaped mark which was used in between 1842 - 1883. A pin and c-loop is attached to the back, along with a safety chain/pin for extra security.
A wonderful example of Victorian Etruscan revival jewelry... and mourning jewelry! A charming antiquity piece and a very wearable memento in today's fashion.