Victorian Etruscan Revival Ball & Claw Brooch
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A Victorian-era, Etruscan-revival brooch, modeled in 15k yellow gold and finished with a high-color bloom. This large brooch features an expertly carved, realistic-rendered, bird's talon, that grasps a smooth, diamond set orb. The gold wire that extends from the base of the avian claw wraps sinuously around the straight bar the the center of the composition, and is capped with a decorative ball. This ball-end and the brooch's true finials are embellished with delicate wirework and Etruscan granulation. The closure is a modified c-clasp. This is an especially fierce and beautiful object. It would wear well alone or with a group of brooches on the breast or lapel of a heavy jacket; it is also the perfect size and proportion to be worn at the neck, at the center of a buttoned-up collar.
Measures approx 48.8 mm (just under 2") x 13.8 mm. Depth (rise) is 11.9 mm, at the highest point. Weight is approx 9.1 grams.
The ball-and-claw motif is an old, originally Chinese, idea. The clawed hand in this original object-relationship was a dragon’s, and it grasped a crystal ball. This crystal ball (sometimes a pearl, or other spherical gem) is meant to symbolize wisdom, or purity, and the claw holds its gem tight, to keep it from being stolen by evil forces. This is an especially moving idea in times when the truth is constantly being obfuscated, and the insistence on goodness and wisdom seems to have taken on an important, almost heroic, character. The Victorians were fond of the ball-and-claw motif— often these claws took the realistic form of a bird’s talon, or a lion’s paw.