Posted 4 months ago
I was unable to identify the maker’s mark on this remarkable brooch before I sold it. SF is (or was) plainly an inspired silversmith who knew a great deal about balance of composition, juxtaposition of line and texture, and metalworking in general. As simple as this brooch appears, it is my experience that “simplicity” does not equal “lack of sophistication.” In fact, the simpler a design with real beauty or valuable function is, the more thought and skill went into its creation. (Think of a safety pin, or the wheel—such “simple” things. Yet how much intellect was necessary for their innovation?) Never mistake simplicity for the work of an amateur. No, SF knew exactly what s/he was doing, here.
This vintage 19?? Brooch is a slightly convex semi-circle of sterling that has been hand-worked so that its radial grooving resembles glacier- or sea-eroded stone, lending it a strikingly organic feel. Despite the obvious fact that it is metal, it looks very much like a piece of worm-eaten driftwood I found on a storm-strewn beach in 1982. (I’m the kind of person who saves fragments of rusted iron, smoothed sea glass, and worm-holed anything. When my husband and I were newlyweds 37 years ago, such things were the only “interior decoration” we possessed. A wooden bowl full of river-tumbled rocks was so beautiful, I have those rocks still.) But I digress...
Great skill was necessary to craft the grooves in this brooch just so; a single ridge in the wrong place would have made it look contrived rather than born of earth or sea.
At the center of its marvelous radials is an oval amethyst measuring 7.2mm horizontally and 4.4mm vertically. The amethyst is deep violet with flawless clarity and faceting that makes it sparkle from any angle, and it is cabochon set with an open back so light may pass through it and bounce off the faceting of its obverse. I’ve photographed it from several angles so you can see this is so. Its surface remains polished smooth, free of scratches (photo ).
Framing the arc of the grooved semi-circle is a flat band of sterling at its top, and the band extends .25” (6.35mm) on either side so that it may anchor a perfectly congruent semi-circle of sturdy wire which floats about a quarter of an inch below the body of the brooch. The wires ends have been granulated into inward-pointing ball heads.
The diameter at the center of the whole structure is 41mm (1.6”), the grooved semi-circle’s being 33.8mm (1.33”) of that. En toto, stands about 20.7mm (.81”) tall.
The rolling C-clasp is placed at the bar side of the brooch so that it rests curve down, as shown in first photo, when worn.