Posted 6 years ago
This is a classic style of Australian jewellery seen from the late C19th to early C20th.
Its has a large 27 x 12mm White Cliffs opal doublet of about 10cts, in a hand fabricated gold brooch. These early doublets are usually very high quality, with a thick layer of opal cemented to a base of opal potch. They were often made by skilled German gem cutters based near the opal fields.
The little leaves surrounding the opal are in tricolour gold, being yellow, rose and white gold (actually an early form of white gold with a high silver content that was referred to as green gold).
Virtually all early Australian jewellery was hand crafted, and often has a strong similarity to Arts & Crafts pieces. These applied leaves on colonial pieces predate the use of a similar leaf motif by Rhoda Wager, who arrived in Australia some years later.
At the time this brooch was made, I'd say 1890 to 1910, opals with colour like this were a sensational new discovery.
The world had seen nothing like them before, and the owner of this brooch could've worn it anywhere in the world with patriotic pride, as an example of just what Australia was capable of producing.