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The mystery of the V&A elephant brooch

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    Posted 4 years ago

    (239 items)

    So when I saw this brooch at the swap meet, I knew it was special, and when I turned it over and saw the V&A logo, thought I had found a nice piece, depending on the price. Even better, she was offering it for $3, I offered $2, and she took it. Score! Gotcha, Bonnie! :))

    Okay, not quite, lol. Because I tried to research V&A online and couldn't find the hallmark, or for that matter, any V&A jewelry on the secondary market. The Victoria and Albert Museum does have a shop and they do sell jewelry but the hallmark is nowhere to be seen, unless you count the Museum logo, which is different from the logo on the brooch.

    So I contacted them, and they very kindly asked to see the brooch. After a few days I heard back from them. I couldn't have gotten a more thorough response as apparently they had sent my photos to all sorts of departments and buyers, present and past, even overseas -- nothing. No one recognized the brooch or knew it as something offered by their shops or authorized sellers.

    I followed up with a query on the mark, if they could at least verify whether they had ever used this particular mark, the reply came back a day or two later: if they ever had, it would have had to have been at least twenty or more years ago, and they had no records or a match. Boo hoo.

    The V&A current logo is fairly modern, while the font and design of the logo on my brooch appears to me to be old-fashioned. The only thing I can logically guess at, is that if this brooch is theirs, it would have to have been produced based on an earlier museum logo. I don't know how long their museum shop has offered jewelry, in any case the brooch clasp is modern. My best guess is this brooch may have been produced in the 80s, during the era of British colonialism movies (Merchant Ivory, Out of Africa, Heat & Dust, etc) using perhaps an old museum letterhead or logo to match the style of the brooch.

    Any thoughts, ideas, theories, welcome. Thanks for looking.

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    1. Efesgirl Efesgirl, 4 years ago
      Looks like you were thorough in your investigation! I have never seen that logo before, and other searches didn't turn up anything.
    2. Dizzydave Dizzydave, 4 years ago
      Found this conversation:
    3. katherinescollections katherinescollections, 4 years ago
      Thanks for the love, AmatoorPikr, nutsabotas6, brunswick, SEAN68, jscott0363, ho2cultcha, pops54, aura, valentino97, Efesgirl, vetraio50, lentilka11, mikelv85, and TassieDevil. :)

      Bonnie, the V&A was really thorough, you should see the emails they sent me! I had never seen the logo before, but immediately thought of the V&A museum as it would make sense that a brooch like this would be made by them. There are no other marks that are V&A that I could find. Thanks for your efforts, Beebs, always appreciated. :)

      DD, I saw that convo, it left me with more questions than answers. First off, I would have liked to have seen the ring mentioned, second the poster speaks of a hallmark back from the 1850s, third, someone else mentions a jewelry maker called V&A in Los Angeles. I think either that is a ghost, or a V&A licensee they were speaking of, as the V&A does license their logo, if you look online you will see the rare bit with the tag "inspired by the V&A". Thanks for your efforts, greatly appreciated. :)
    4. OneGoodFind OneGoodFind, 4 years ago
      Shot in the dark:
    5. katherinescollections katherinescollections, 4 years ago
      Interesting! Thanks, OGF!

      Well I finally tracked down something on this mark, while looking for another mark, lol, as so often happens. The pyramid is the hallmark of a company called Museum Reproductions. I found my brooch on the original cardstock which refers to the hallmark but not to V&A. So have written to the V&A again, just on the off chance this might trigger something from their licensee records.

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