Pique jewellery is unlike any other form of jewellery, and here is a gorgeous and very intricate antique pique brooch that was made in the Victorian era.
Dating from the 1880's, the brooch measures 32.8mm in diameter making it the perfect size to wear for any occasion, and thanks to the gorgeous chocolate-brown colouring combined with the amazing detail of the inlayed gold and silver, this is such a fabulous brooch that will always look perfect on any outfit.
Unlike any other jewellery before or since, this brooch will always be admired to its elegance and design.
Antique pique brooch.
This antique pique brooch made in the 1880's is made of a material no longer available today.
What is pique?
Pique jewellery is a style and type of jewellery all unto itself and one that cannot be reproduced today and is so unique and spectacular. Made most popular during the Victorian era, it can be found as far back as the 18th Century and was popular throughout most parts of Europe but mostly in Italy and England.
Pique (pronounced pee-kay) is gold or silver, or sometimes a combination of both, inlayed into another material. Quite often the material was tortoiseshell (from the Hawksbill tortoise which was also used for the making of other tortoiseshell material such as boxes etc) and sometimes even from elephant ivory.
The tortoiseshell seemed to be the most popular, probably because of its light weight and being easy to mould into other shapes. Tortoiseshell is a natural thermoplastic , meaning that it is quite malleable when heated/warmed. Very fine gold or silver would be fashioned into either fine rod or leaf designs. These were then pressed into the already warmed tortoiseshell. After the gold and silver was set, the shell was left to cool down which would then contract to hold the metal in place.
Prior to 1870, the metals were cut by hand allowing for very fine and intricate detail. After 1870, machines started to do the work resulting in more straight and angular designs. The attention to detail no matter the age is always something that never ceases to amaze people especially when you consider that these pieces were often made well over 140 years ago and still look superb today.
Pique jewellery can most commonly be found in earrings and pendants, and the designs and colouring are amazing to admire.
This form of jewellery making is now a lost art as both the elephant and Hawksbill turtle are protected species. This means that pique jewellery will become harder and harder to find as the years go by.
Click here to see more antique pique jewellery that is currently in store:
Click here to see more antique brooches currently in store:
A link to the beautiful Victoria & Albert museum in London: