Brooch thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Brooch

1880-1900 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is an unusually large and colourful example of a late 19th century hand brooch, with pink cuff, flesh-coloured hand, vine in two colours of gold, and a blue flower centred by a diamond. The blue flower speaks the language of love, and the diamond claims eternity.

Hands have played a rich part in the history of jewellery design. Clasped together, they have been used in fede rings since Roman times, and, in Italian traditional jewellery, a hand clenched as a fist has long been worn to ward off the evil eye. In the early decades of the 19th century, hands frequently acquire cuffs and become an expression of Romanticism. In France in the reign of Louis Philippe they hold pendants and watches, and form links in chains. Cuffed hands, made of gold, ivory, coral and jet became brooches in their own right, just as single hands were used in seals, paper clips, a pair of brass curtain tie backs made by John Hands (1845; an example is in the British Galleries of the V&A; Museum. no. M.29&A-1925), or a cast iron paperweight offered in a German foundry catalogue of 1848. Hand brooches continued to be popular throughout the century, not least in jet, where a hand might hold a small wreath of yew in mourning, a fashionable and amorous fan, or a sporting tennis racket with ball. In the twentieth century, hands remained in fashion: a hand, cuff and flower brooch by Cartier from the 1930s is among the jewels given to the V&A by the Patricia V. Goldstein (Museum no. M.217-2007).



object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Gold, silver, diamond and enamel brooch in the form of a cuffed hand holding a vine and a blue flower, probaby United Kingdom or U.S.A., 1880-1900
Physical Description
Brooch in the form of an enamelled hand with a pink cuff holding a spray of two vine leaves and a blue enamelled flower centred by a brilliant-cut diamond in a claw setting. The cuff and hand are formed from one piece of silver counter-enamelled in white. The flower is also made of silver counter-enamelled in white. The two vine leaves are yellow gold, engraved and matted. A tendril and a bunch of grapes are made of red gold. The brilliant-cut diamond is held in a claw setting surrounded by five stamens.
Dimensions
  • Length: 63mm
  • Width: 32mm
  • Depth: 19mm
Content description
flower

hand
Credit line
Given by Geoffrey and Caroline Munn
Object history
First known in the London trade in the 1980s.



The brooch is unmarked, but is likely to have been made in Britain or the United States. The cuff and hand motif was popular in the United States on visiting cards and in jewellery. One page of the trade catalogue of 1894 issued by S. F. Myers & Co., New York, has three cuff and hand brooches, ‘rolled gold plate lace pins’, all with the first and fourth fingers in the same position as the fingers of the brooch on offer, but they have imitation rather than real diamonds (Hinks, 1991, p. 215). The finger positions are the same on a brooch in the trade which is described as being Edwardian and having full nine-carat gold hallmarks (http://www.vintage-brooches.info/2010/11/gold-hand-with-jewellery-vintage-brooch.html).

Subject depicted
Summary
This is an unusually large and colourful example of a late 19th century hand brooch, with pink cuff, flesh-coloured hand, vine in two colours of gold, and a blue flower centred by a diamond. The blue flower speaks the language of love, and the diamond claims eternity.



Hands have played a rich part in the history of jewellery design. Clasped together, they have been used in fede rings since Roman times, and, in Italian traditional jewellery, a hand clenched as a fist has long been worn to ward off the evil eye. In the early decades of the 19th century, hands frequently acquire cuffs and become an expression of Romanticism. In France in the reign of Louis Philippe they hold pendants and watches, and form links in chains. Cuffed hands, made of gold, ivory, coral and jet became brooches in their own right, just as single hands were used in seals, paper clips, a pair of brass curtain tie backs made by John Hands (1845; an example is in the British Galleries of the V&A; Museum. no. M.29&A-1925), or a cast iron paperweight offered in a German foundry catalogue of 1848. Hand brooches continued to be popular throughout the century, not least in jet, where a hand might hold a small wreath of yew in mourning, a fashionable and amorous fan, or a sporting tennis racket with ball. In the twentieth century, hands remained in fashion: a hand, cuff and flower brooch by Cartier from the 1930s is among the jewels given to the V&A by the Patricia V. Goldstein (Museum no. M.217-2007).



Bibliographic References
  • Hinks, Peter (introduction). Victorian Jewellery: A Complete Compendium of over four thousand pieces of Jewellery. London: Studio Editions, 1991. p. 215.
  • Vever, Henri. French Jewelry of the Nineteenth Century. Translated from the French by Katherine Purcell. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001. pp. 38, 177, 341.
Collection
Accession Number
M.1-2014

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdFebruary 12, 2014
Record URL