Unconquerable charity

Exciting antique dragon brooch with diamonds & garnets in gold, circa 1850

The brooch we have here has posed some riddles for us. We see a proud dragon with wide-open wings before us. The gruesome beast with the head of a pelican and the body of a snake sits on a twisted branch from which two leaves sprout. The body is forged entirely of gold, and from eyes of garnet it gazes towards us. The leaves of the branch, which serves as his seat, are richly set with large diamonds. The brooch was made around 1850 due to its fine detailing, the shape of the branch in particular and the cut of the diamonds. Romantic, even fairy-tale motifs were one of the most popular subjects in all the arts in those years, along with the enthusiasm for untamed nature. But how exactly are we to understand the partly terrifying, partly fascinating dragon of our brooch? Our suggestion for interpretation is this: The first clue is given by the diamond. Its name goes back to the Greek word "adámas" and means something like "the indomitable". Even today it is generally considered indestructible; in antiquity and in the Middle Ages it was believed that nothing could split it (except for goat's blood, but we will leave that aside here). So the dragon on the indestructible branch is itself indomitable. Shuddering and strong, no enemy can defeat him. But at the same time, this very dragon is no fiend or monster. His head in the shape of a pelican refers to the legend, known since ancient times, that the pelican is a particularly caring bird. From the observation that it feeds its young with regurgitated food, the idea arose that it sacrifices itself for its children: In early Christianity, the pelican was thus seen as a symbol of Jesus Christ shedding his own blood for his children. We believe, therefore, that the dragon, so precious, is ultimately also a caring monster, a strong and unconquered caretaker and nurturer of those whom he has taken to his heart. Strong and unyielding in outward defense, yet loving and willing to sacrifice for his loved ones - who would not want to adorn himself with these attributes?

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.