French Japanesque Brooch, ca. 1870
This was my great-grandmother's piece, and she was born in 1879, and she did some traveling before she got married. We know she traveled in Europe for some time, but we don't know if it's European or American. She lived in Pittsburgh. And because there was no mark at all, I really didn't think that it was worth much. We really know nothing.
In about the 1850s, trade was opened with Japan, and then in the 1860s and 1870s, they had things called exhibitions where they introduced new things, and the Japanese style was introduced into all kinds of architecture, jewelry. This little brooch is Japanesque. I think it's probably French. It is 14-karat gold.
It has tiny single-cut diamonds in the leaves. The little red flowers are actually enamel. And then we have a giant wasp, which indicates new beginnings. It was a symbol represented in many cultures.
It has the simplicity of Japanese design inspired by nature. Have you any idea what it might be worth?
No, not at all. My mom said, "Oh, I think it's worth $25," and we weren't going to bring it, so...
Retail, on today's market, it would sell for about $1,500.
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