Retro Scallop Shells Brooch
Exquisite double scallop shell brooch that also converts to a pair of dress clips. It dates from the 1940s, the retro styling big and bold, both forward-looking with hints of mid-century modern design, while incorporating distinct elements from the preceding Art Deco era. It's crafted in two-tone 18ct gold with deeply reeded shells and diamond-studded rims. A plate fits on to the back, holding the two dress clips together for wear as a brooch, giving it excellent versatility.
The scallop shell is an iconic motif synonymous with love and beauty (Venus) and Christian pilgrimage (Santiago de Compostela); I guess also, in both cases by extension, ultimately synonymous with love - that miraculous, enchanted pearl sometimes found within. In the most literal sense, it represents maritime bounty: to those peoples lucky enough to have settled by the coast, the seas and oceans provided vital sustenance and the scallop represents one of its finest delicacies. However, the symbol often transcends the literal: in the Middle Ages, the scallop shell became associated with religious pilgrimages such as Granada to Santiago de Compostela in Spain - pilgrims would wear the emblem as a display of faith through hardship and dedication. And much earlier, in ancient Greece and Rome, the scallop was an icon of Venus Anadyomene (literally "Venus Rising from the Sea"), representing beauty and fertility, exquisitely revisited by Botticelli in his 1484-1486 masterpiece The Birth of Venus.
And with regards to scallop as a physical organism, the various species of the family Pectinidae, there is at least one biological feature worthy of note: Scallops have a large number of vivid, iridescent blue eyes - up to 200 of them. In place of a lens, these eyes use a concave mirror surface of guanine crystals to direct and focus the light - something of an innovation in the world of molluscs.
Era: Retro, 1940s
Size: 5.8cm by 2.7cm
Dress clips: 2.9cm by 2.7cm
Marks: 750 (for 18ct gold)
Condition: Great vintage condition
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Gemstones are tested by an accredited gemmologist (Cert GA, Gemmological Association of Great Britain)
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Tracked and insured with signature on delivery
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We offer detailed and accurate condition reports on each listing. These pieces are antique, vintage, or pre-loved, often over 100 years old so they're going to have lived a life. A healthy patina and the odd scuff/scrape are quite normal... it's part of their charm! Everything we present has been checked over by our jeweller and should be good for wear for many years to come (unless otherwise stated) but please remember to treat them with appropriate care and consideration for their age.
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