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Splendid Scottish Specimen Agate Plaid Brooch


A lovely piece for the collector, dating to circa 1850-60 and inspired by the design of a Celtic shield, a splendid hand crafted specimen Victorian Scottish Agate brooch. The circular brooch was a design derived from the traditional penannular shawl pin and one which can be seen worn by Prince Leopold in a portrait by Koberwein (1873) in which he wears a Highland plaid over his left shoulder fastened by a circular brooch. 'Scottish' Jewellery became very fashionable in the mid 19th century, popularised by the visits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Scotland and after their purchase of the Balmoral Estate in 1852. 

From the Victoria and Albert Museum; 

'In the early years of the 19th century, the poetry and novels of Sir Walter Scott put Scotland on the tourist map. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were very fond of Scotland. Scottish pebble jewellery, already fashionable in the 18th century, became a popular souvenir. Birmingham jewellers responded to the demand, sometimes using stones from countries other than Scotland.'

Superior quality, this jewel displays an array of stones and much care has been taken in the arrangement of the stones to create the most striking effect. The natural patterns and colours are shown in their wonderful earthy contrast; we believe the stones to be yellow/red Porphyry and grey Montrose Agate around the outer edge, with the central skilfully high faceted central stones being Bloodstone, Perthshire and Angus Agates, green/grey Moss Agate and Aberdeen Granite. The Silver between the stones is engraved with a Scottish rose at the centre. The precision of the workmanship is astounding, in particular the cutting and setting of the stones and this piece is typical of the work of James Fenton of Birmingham, in particular the knarled engraving seen between the stones.

In perfect condition, it measures 4.5cm across, and fastens with the traditional 'C' clasp and a ring for a safety chain.