Sea blossom

Historicism antique coral brooch, around 1885

Coral jewelry was created in Italy in the 19th century especially for the travelers on a Grand Tour. This so-called cavalier tour, which was intended to perfect the education of travelers, led to the ancient monuments, to the art collections of Rome and Naples, and always the early tourists brought back from their trip across the Alps small souvenirs that would tell of the experiences of the Italian journey. Here we have a charming handmade brooch that gathers eleven salmon red corals from the Mediterranean Sea. The corals form a flower framed by two leaves. Cut into beautiful buttons, the corals have a wonderfully intense glow, evoking the vibrant colors of the south. The corals are set in gold-plated tombac and have become the brooch, which shows the formal language of historicism with its spiral tendrils. Four small natural pearls enrich the design, creating a beautiful wearable object. The brooch was probably created in the 1880s in Pforzheim, where the major jewelry manufactures produced corresponding pieces. Ornaments such as the arches used here on the outer sides are often found in the repertoire of the Benckiser company.

The coral has been considered a good luck charm since ancient times. From the 17th century, for example, is handed down from Venice, the coral "Portati dovunque l'huomo sia, ò in casa, ò in nave, scaccia le cattive ombre de gli spiriti, sogni, fulmini, venti, e tempeste e gli diffende da ogni assalto di fiere." - "Wherever man goes, whether he is at home or traveling by ship - the coral drives away the evil shadows of the spirits, bad dreams, lightning, winds and thunderstorms, and protects from every adversity." (Isabella Palumbo Fossati Casa: Intérieurs vénitiens à la Renaissance. Maisons, société et culture, Paris 2012, p. 276). In Naples, people still use amulets made of coral to protect themselves against misfortune.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.