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Here is a beautiful ornate key brooch from the Grand period,1860-1885.

The Grand period:
"Mid-Victorian women were competing with men for jobs as clerks, teachers, factory inspectors and they were fighting to win the right to vote. Suddenly they had their own money, and a change in the laws c. 1870 allowed them to keep what they earned. Women’s fashion was undergoing a radical transition and enormous crinolines expanded to ridiculous proportions and restrictive corsets resulted in expanding décolletages. Women’s earlobes re-emerged with a new backswept hairstyle that sent curls cascading down the neck. A passion for ancient history fueled by archeological discoveries and written accounts of the exploits of ancient civilizations made this period ripe for revivals of ancient jewelry styles. The jewelry business flourished throughout Europe.

The French expedition to China introduced the West to the use of jade in jewelry. The Mexican campaign resulted in a fad for bejeweled humming birds set as brooches and hair ornaments. But it was the opening of trade with Japan that had the most lasting impact on jewelry design. It began with a technique for setting small bits of decorative Japanese metalwork in jewelry. Shibuichi and Shakudo, mixed metal techniques devised by sword makers, found their way to the jeweler’s bench. The distinct lines and motifs of Japanese art would eventually help spawn a new jewelry style – Art Nouveau – that would develop concurrently with the late Victorian period.

A shift from gem driven design to one that required the gems to adapt to metalwork designs developed. Calibré-cut stones served to outline featured gems. Garnets were often rose-cut to cluster around a carbuncle creating a star or floral motif. A fashion for setting small stones into large ones came about in the 1860’s and cabochons featured decorative centers inlaid with a pearl, diamond or even an applied flower or insect. Workmanship was very high in the jewelry industry and craftsmen showcased their skill by creating ever more elaborate cameo habillés.

Novelty jewelry with its depictions of flowers, windmills, lanterns and other commonplace household items amused the Victorians. Sporting jewelry with its motifs from horse racing, hunting, fishing, tennis, yachting and other leisure pursuits was embraced by the novelty loving public. Napoleon III purchased a horseshoe brooch on a visit to England and they became all the rage upon his return to France.


Round brooches were produced c. 1860’s with a central cabochon or enameled dome in a decorative frame. Brooches often doubled as pendants and to facilitate this double duty the orientation of the brooch went from horizontal to vertical. Greek, Etruscan and Egyptian design influence included the use of corded wire and granulation to accent the borders of Roman mosaic, cameos and portrait miniatures. Celtic and Scottish pebble brooches continued to intrigue the fashionable Victorians. Realistically rendered bugs, hummingbirds and floral sprays, set en tremblant, were created in a naturalistic style along with stars and feathers. Sporting brooches with saddles, stirrups, caps, clubs, balls and horseshoes were essential for daywear. "

This medium-large and lovely old pin is a a treat to behold.Made in a color of gold that is true rose.It has fine etching and a rose cut red-pink stone that may be a garnet or ruby.
It held at 10k when I tested it but I do believe this is heavy gold sheet,also known as rolled gold or gold fill.The pin and catch are not gold and probably brass for durability.
No markings.Excellent antique condition less som fine scratches on the back ,patina and a small minor dent or ripple to the backside edge(unseen when worn).
Its a beautiful piece that is going to make an outstanding signature piece and will jazz up any blouse,dress or jacket this fall.It looksand feels just like gold and will make a rich looking accessory.

Rare Victorian rose gold Key with rose cut ruby stone


  • Vintage item from the 1800s
  • Only ships to United States from North Carolina, United States.
  • Feedback: 885 reviews
  • Favorited by: 12 people