Monday, 25 January 2010

Burns Night and Scottish Pebble Jewellery

The 25th of January sees in Burns Night, the celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns. And so at Alfies, as our thoughts turned to all things Scottish, we stumbled across some beautiful examples of pebble jewellery and began to look into the history of these distinctive pieces.

Scottish Hat Pin with a Banded Agate Heart

Peter & Naneen Brooks

Queen Victoria was a great trend-setter in her day and her influence extended into jewellery, notably with jet but also with Scottish pebble jewellery. One of the Queen’s favourite places was Balmoral, her royal residence in Scotland. Her great support of Scottish culture and heritage encouraged visitors to the country and local jewellers responded to the resulting increase in tourist trade by producing mosaic souvenir jewellery, made from precious metal and native stones.

1880 Scottish "Dirk" pin, £300

Marie Antiques

Scottish Pebble Jewellery was produced from around 1850 until the demand for these trinkets went into decline at the beginning of the First World War. The earlier examples of Victorian pebble jewellery tend to be of superior quality and craftsmanship as well as the most collectable and Alfies dealers have some lovely examples on offer.

Scottish Pebble Pendant, c.1850 set in sterling silver

Gareth Brooks

Victorian Pebble jewellery took inspiration from historic Celtic and Scottish folk law with emblems such as the cross of St Andrew, shields, knots, crests and clan symbols. The engraving on the mounts of the jewellery was done by hand and very intricate, while stones used included Sardonyx, Montrose Agate, Mocha Agate, Carnelian, Malachite, Chalcedony, Bloodstone, Granite, Jaspers and Quartz.

1870 round silver brooch inlayed with agates and citrines, £550

Marie Antiques

Pebble jewellery comes in all shapes and sizes including traditional plaid brooches, miniature dirk kilt pins, bracelets, earrings, pendants, belt buckles, cufflinks, stamp boxes, matchsafes, and sovereign holders. Necklaces were also made but are much rarer to find. We selected a few of our favourites, but do pop down to Alfies and have a look at what else our brilliant dealers have in.

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