Brooch

Date

1850-1880

GUSN

GUSN-23975

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

Descriptive Terms

pins (fasteners)
pins (jewelry)
pyrite
Steel
Mica
Brooch

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.

Associated Building

Original to Castle Tucker (Wiscasset, Me.),

Maker

Unknown

Object Type

Adornment

Dimensions

2.5 x 1.75 (HxW) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Jane S. Tucker

Accession Number

1998.4924.4

Places

Ireland (British Isles, Europe) [island]