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Rare antique Regard brooch with a hidden compartment

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Rare antique Regard brooch with a hidden compartment

Acrostic jewellery is a form of jewellery where the first letter of each gemstone ‘spells’ out a particular word or meaning. This form of jewellery goes as far back as the 1700s and was thought to have originated from French jeweller Jean-Baptiste Mellerio (1765-1850) who made jewellery for Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine. This form of jewellery quickly became popular, and came across the channel to be embraced by many English jewellers.

However, acrostic jewellery became most popular during the mid-19th century during what is known as the Romantic era. In France at this time the common words found in acrostic jewellery were often ‘souvenir’ (remembrance) and ‘amitié’ (friendship). In England, this form of jewellery is most often be found in brooches and rings known as a ‘regard’; which would feature a ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby and a diamond, or perhaps the word ‘love’ would be made, the piece being set with a lapis, opal, vermeil (an old name for hessonite garnet) and emerald.

Other romantic sentiments found in acrostic jewellery can also be found in the form of ‘dearest’ and ‘adore’ jewellery. J’adore (love), was spelled out in a ring with jacinth, amethyst, diamond, opal, ruby and emerald gemstones, set in that order. Sometimes, the gems would be inter spaced with seed pearls representing tears.

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