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Brooch

1998.4924.4 (RS24062)

Description

This brooch is part of a six piece set, or parure, of jewelry made from steel set with iron pyrite. The central motif is an Irish harp, surrounded by a circle of triangles to form a sunburst. Pendants hang from three of the sunburst points. The first is a small flower that hangs from two of the points. A small tassel shape hands from the third point to balance the weight.

Details

Label
The central harp design in this bracelet represents the instrument of Brian Borhomie, the High King of Ireland reputed to have unified regional leaders in the eleventh century. A powerful symbol of Ireland after its exhibition in 1851 at the Crystal Palace, the harp was frequently reproduced in jewelry sets such as this as tourist souvenirs made from the locally-produced iron pyrite crystals often called "Irish diamonds." Other popular Irish motifs included in this set are trefoil shamrock leaves. For more on this type of jewelry and to see a similar set in the Birmingham (UK) Museum of Art, see Charlotte Gere and Judy Rudoe, Jewellery in the Age of Victoria (2011), 496.
Maker
unknown
Date
1850-1880
Associated Building
Original to Castle Tucker (Wiscasset, Me.).
Material
pyrite
Object type
Adornment
Places
Ireland (British Isles, Europe) [island]
Descriptive terms
Brooch
Mica
pins (fasteners)
pins (jewelry)
pyrite
Steel
Dimensions
2.5 x 1.75 (HxW) (inches)
Accession Number
1998.4924.4
Credit Line
Gift of Miss Jane S. Tucker
GUSN
23975

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