Antique tortoise shell brooch or watch fob with gold and silver pique inlay in a finely executed honeycomb and arrow design. It measures 1 and three eights inches across and weighs 8 grams. Excellent original condition. Pique jewelry is no longer being made. Most was done in tortoise shell, made from the hawksbill turtle. Pique (pronounced pee-kay) is a technique of decorating tortoiseshell or ivory with fine inlay of gold or silver. Tortoise shell is a natural thermoplastic. A fine shaft of precious metal can be heated and then pressed into the tortoiseshell. The rod is cut off at the and as the shell cools, it re-hardens and grips the insert tightly. This process is repeated to form a pattern. Pique jewelry was made from the 1700's to the late 19th century.
Antique Victorian mourning brooch in gold and black enamel c1850. Measures 2 x 1.75 inches. Excellent condition with just two small seed pearls missing. Engraved on reverse " In memory of William Earnshaw 20th June 1853.