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This brooch is made from two tiger claws set top to top in an "S" shape, secured at the center with a decorative gold mount. The gold mount is a wide cap set at the top of the claws, delicately chased with floral designs. The mount is held in place with a set of prongs extending from a tab along the front edge of each claw. From the mid-section of each claw a fine gold chain extends to the opposite claw, forming a draped "X" shape at the center of the brooch. The clasp is a hinged pin and C hook. The brooch is part of a parure that consists of a necklace, earrings, and a bracelet.
This tiger claw necklace is part of a set, called a parure, which includes a bracelet, earrings, and a brooch. The set was purchased in Bombay (now called Mumbai), India, in 1875 as a gift for the popular Cambridge author Georgina Lowell Putnam (1836-1922). Sets of tiger claw jewelry were quite fashionable in the nineteenth century, made as hunting trophies and tourist souvenirs by talented Indian jewelers. Tiger hunting was a common pastime for British government officials stationed in India. Jewelers in Britain and the United States advertised tiger claw jewelry in the 1870s and 1880s.Claw jewelry is a beautiful but troubling product of that era.
"Hidden Treasures from Elegant Eras," Historic Jewelry from the Collections of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities presented by Shreve, Crump & Low, September 15 - November 30, 1995.
"Jewelry at Historic New England," Online exhibit presented by Historic New England launched September 30, 2007 at www.historicnewengland.org/jewelryhistory.
Title Tiger Claw Necklace Accession Number 1928.147
Title Tiger Claw Bracelet Accession Number 1928.148
Title Tiger Claw Earrings Accession Number 1928.150AB
Bombay, India, Asia
1 1/2 x 3 x 1/4 (HxWxD) (inches)
Gift of Miss Louise M. Dewey
1875 (When this set was made in 1875 the city of origin was called "Bombay." Today it is called "Mumbai.")
Bombay (Salsette Island, Maha¯ra¯shtra, India)