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This brooch is part of a six piece jewelry set, or parure, made of steel pave-set with iron pyrite. This brooch is an equal-armed cross set in a laurel wreath.
This equal-armed cross is often called a "Maltese Cross" after the crusading Knights of St. John but it might also be St. Patrick's Saltire, which is typically depicted as a red 'X' on a white ground. Jewelry sets such as this were 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.
Original to Castle Tucker (Wiscasset, Me.),
2 x 1.75 (HxW) (inches)
Gift of Miss Jane S. Tucker
Ireland (British Isles, Europe) [island]