Funny brooch with plastic shellgemme in gold, Great Britain around 1965
This unusual brooch, which came to us from London, takes us back to the turbulent 1960s. London was a bustling city at the time, setting global standards in fashion and pop culture. The city went down in history as Swinging London during this decade, and was primarily characterized by a youth cultural movement that hungered for all things new and modern. Only now had England emerged from the difficult economic period following the Second World War, and the younger generation was indulging in an optimistic hedonism that was most evident in fashion and music. In Soho's trendy shops like Carnaby Street, the miniskirt in particular caused a sensation. New hairstyles gave expression to this attitude to life. Voluminous hair, such as that worn by London fashion icon Dusty Springfield, was in demand, as it meant standing out at any price. One hairstyle in particular kept the fashion world in suspense. The beehive, named after its beehive-like appearance. The extravagant hairstyle was invented by the American Margaret Vinci Heldt (1918-2016), who ran a barbershop in downtown Chicago. From the USA, the beehive also spread to Europe and became one of the trademarks of the 1960s. The lady on the exceptionally cut shell gem of our brooch also proudly wears such a towering work of hair art, held in place by strings of pearls. The cut of the gem is as unusual as her hairstyle: skilfully exploiting a natural curvature of the shell, the face appears almost fully plastic. Only in movement can the three-dimensionality of the cameo be grasped and admired. A cord-embellished setting of light reddish gold completes the unusual brooch. We were immediately thrilled by the unusual presentation and felt reminded of Amy Winehouse, who helped the Beehive to a revival.
We associate gem ornaments primarily with the 19th century and the style epochs of classicism and historicism. However, the carved representations enjoyed great popularity even beyond that.
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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.
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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.