1960s "Bird of Paradise" Brooch
The Bird of Paradise (of which there are a great many varieties) was largely unknown to human eyes until David Attenborough's 1996 documentary "Attenborough in Paradise". Here, the legendary TV zoologist realised a childhood dream, inspired by Alfred Russel Wallace's book "The Malay Archipelago", to travel to the forests of New Guinea and capture these enchanting birds on film. Their local environment is so benign that the female birds can build their nests and raise their young without the help of males, so the females choose a mate on the basis of his beauty and dancing ability alone. For their spectacular plumage and remarkable courtship rituals, Attenborough pronounced them "the most glamorous bird in the world". One myth says a Greater Bird of Paradise with golden tail feathers is an emblem of the soul and eternal life, indeed some folklorists credit the Bird to the Chinese myth of the Phoenix.
This exquisite vintage brooch is modelled as some type of Bird of Paradise, with a golden baroque pearl for its body, and diamonds and emeralds at the top of the tail. I think zoomorphic pearls are one of the best tricks employed by 20th century jewellers... it must be so fun to rummage through a bag of pearls with a mind to transform them into precious little creatures. This one was made in the 1960s, crafted in 18ct gold (yellow and white), and it's wonderfully detailed with elegant sweeping tail feathers and immaculate attention to detail. The pearl is completely captivating, with a silky golden hue and iridescent green and rose overtones.
Era: Vintage 1960s
Size: 6.8cm by 2.2cm
Stones: Golden pearl, likely South Sea. Calibré cut emeralds. Brilliant cut diamonds (total diamond weight: 10pts, calculated)
Marks: None, tested as 18ct gold
Condition: Great vintage condition
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