Cupid's arrow

Romantic brooch with large sapphire & diamonds in gold, England circa 1900

The little god of love Cupid - mischievous and always up for a prank - is said, according to myth, to have shot around not only with a kind of love arrows. On the one hand he had golden arrows in his quiver, which triggered passionate love for another person in the person hit, but on the other hand he also possessed arrows made of lead, which instead of love and passion only caused indifference. The chaos arose especially when Cupid, to his amusement, shot one person with a leaden arrow, but the other with a golden one. A golden arrow we now see here, forged of gold and set with a large cabochon-cut blue sapphire weighing about ten carats and three small diamonds. An arrow of love, then, designed to set the heart of the person struck into dazzling passion. The precious piece of jewellery is to be worn as a brooch and was created in late Victorian England. The beautiful brooch is made of at least 14-carat gold. Since the sapphire stands for fidelity in the language of gemstones and the diamond for eternity, the love arrow is additionally charged with meaning here! Cf. for the present brooch, for example, the goods offered in the catalogue of Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company Ltd, London 1901, reproduced in Peter Hinks (ed.): Viktorianischer Schmuck, Hildesheim/Zürich/New York 1996, e.g. p. 51.

In the second half of the 19th century, people were no longer afraid to fall back on the playful forms of the Rococo and thus establish an ideal connection to the splendour-loving era of the Ancien Regime. This movement originated not least in France, where Napoleon III at the time of the Second Empire (1852-1870) drew on the long history of French art and architecture for the purpose of legitimization. His wife, Empress Eugénie, was known for her exclusive jewellery, including hearts crowned with bows, large drop pearls - precious items such as Marie Antoinette had worn. As time progressed, this fashion naturally spread to wealthy bourgeois women. Precious pieces in the form of diamond-studded hearts and bows can be found especially in British jewellery catalogues of the late 19th century (cf. last illustration, from a Streeter catalogue of 1898). On the one hand, they evoke a bygone era of romance and gallantry - but at the same time they were quite contemporary, taking into account developments such as newly discovered diamond deposits and featuring gemstones from distant British colonies, such as the opal or the moonstone.

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.