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Rhoda Wager (Circle of ) Silver and Opal Brooch

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    Posted 7 years ago

    (445 items)

    Look what came for me today, I'm so happy I finally have a piece made by Rhoda Wager. I've been humming and ahhhing about buying this brooch for months. After seeing the beautiful pieces of Kiwipaul I decided to go ahead and buy it.
    It is such a pretty brooch and the way the Opal changes colour is amazing. I have put some photos with the Opal photographed inside and outside. I don't know much of Rhoda Wager work, her use of the silver leaves around the Opal Is lovely, I hope in the future I shall come across more of her beautiful work.
    These are the sellers words about the Opal. The Opal has a back sandstone this could mean one of two things that it is a seam of Opal with the sandstone mother rock left to give it substance, or it could be a doublet utilising a sandstone rock as a backing either way it would be impossible to know for sure without unsetting the stone.
    He also told me a story about a lady being interested in buying this brooch, she wanted to take out the Opal and replace it with another stone, hasten to say the brooch wasn't sold to her.
    I would like to know what type of Opal this is.
    The brooch is 4 cm long the Opal is 2 1/2 cm long and at its widest point 1 cm. it was made around the 1930s.
    Many thanks for looking

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    1. kyratango kyratango, 7 years ago
      Ravishing piece, Jean! I can understand your impatience to have it in your hands :-)
    2. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Hi Kyra, thanks for your comment, I'm amazed at how the Opal changes colour depending on the light. The inside photo the Opal is mainly green with speckles of orange and blue, the out door photo the opal is mainly vivid blue with speckles of green, orange, red and yellow. I love Opals.
    3. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 7 years ago
      Hi Jean, lovely piece, with nice play of colour, and looks quite large.

      The seller was correct that you couldn't be sure if it was a solid or doublet without unsetting the stone, however on balance it is most likely to be a solid piece of boulder opal.

      Your backing is ironstone (not sandstone) which is the matrix for boulder opal, and the opal layer's imperfections are very characteristic of boulder opal, and that makes me pretty sure it is a nice piece of solid boulder opal.

      In the 1970's people started making doublets with South Australian opal on the front, and ironstone on the back, to pass off as quality boulder opal, but I've never seen that on older pieces like this, which is what leads me to believe this is solid boulder opal.

      Good Score!
    4. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Yet again Paul thanks for taking the time to explain Boulder Opal. I'm sure your right that the stone is all one, it's interesting that you say the mother stone is Ironstone and not sandstone.
    5. AnneLanders AnneLanders, 7 years ago
      yes I saw that comment from the seller about doubts over whether it was a doublet...youve got a piece of stunning history, maybe we should enjoy it for the fact it is was it is......I've only discovered the full detail of her work and just wonder if I will ever get a true piece and paul coud you message me to help with ideas as you see to be the expert :)
      So lovely Jean, you lucky lucky lady...enjoy it... :)
    6. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      Hi Jean. I'm right in thinking that this was sold to you as Australian School?
    7. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      No Jewels1900, it was sold to me as Rhoda Wager, but I've no problem with it, it's a truly lovely brooch. Even if it Australian School, that's pretty good, isn't it?
    8. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Another thing Jewels1900 would the brooch have made in the 1930s I'm just curious now?
    9. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Hi Jewels1900 I'm here again. Am I right in thinking that you think this was the Rhoda Wager School that made this brooch?
    10. kyratango kyratango, 7 years ago
      Seller's description said "Rhoda Wagger (circle of)".
    11. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      Hi Jean, I'm disappointed that this was sold to you as Wager because I've discussed a Wager attribution for this brooch before. There are differences in style & construction would indicate a different maker to Wager.

      Australian School is spot on though. We see this style of jewellery here, but most of it was not made by Wager even though it is often attributed to her. The Powerhouse Museum coined the term Australian School to identify it.

      Apart from her niece, Wager had many apprentices who went on to make jewellery in their own right. In addition to her stores there were at least 2 collectives that made jewellery in the arts & crafts tradition, one called The Arts & Crafts Shop that signed its work 'arts crafts' and had a little bilken type figure on its boxes.

      In addition a lot of what you would call 'high street' jewellers made jewellery in Wager's style, I've seen whole suites in original boxes. The amount of actual hand made work and the quality varies considerably. You get a lot of glass set pieces, and in some cases you find it set with a polished grey granite that was dug up when they build the foundations of the Harbour Bridge.

      Your brooch is typical of the Edwardian period. But little brooches were popular up until the 1930's.

      In many ways the feel of Wager's jewellery is very much like Nossitor's. They have an organic, almost haphazard, feel you only get from very talented and experienced jewellers.
    12. kerry10456 kerry10456, 7 years ago
      I'm such a novice with such, but here(CW) lately there has been so many beautiful pieces of stone and really good information, I believe I might be learning something. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and beautiful pieces of "ART" in jewelry form. It's been a pleasure to read and admire so many of these lately....Kudos to all
    13. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Many thanks AnneLanders and Kerry for your comments and contribution to this post. :-)
    14. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Thank you Jewels1900 yet again for your information. I have to say I still love this brooch whether it isn't Rhoda Wager, What does it for me is the Opal. Do you know any of Australian School makers, I would be interested to know.
    15. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      It's lovely Jean. A first for your collection. Very little info is available on Australian School makers. There was an Arts & Crafts society in most states which records who submitted jewellery for exhibition but there's only descriptions, no drawings or other records. Mildred Creed is the only other maker I can recall off the top of my head.

      Thought the Powerhouse has a great record of the Wagers including their sketch books in which they record every piece they made. You can book in to view it. They also have the best collection for comparison. They only attribute pieces known to be made by the Wagers and they have a good collection locked away in their safe.
    16. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Thanks Jewels1900, I did have a look at the Powerhouse Museum, I shall go back and see if there is anything of interest.
    17. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Many thanks
    18. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Many thanks
    19. Manikin Manikin, 7 years ago
      gorgeous !!!!
    20. Lise Lise, 7 years ago
      Lovely :)
    21. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Thank you, Manikin and Lise, for your nice comments :-)
    22. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Many thanks
    23. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Many thanks
    24. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 5 years ago
      Many thanks


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