Victorian Pinchbeck Mine Cut Diamond Skull Stick Pin
"Momento Mori" is a Latin term that means "Remember that you will die." This reflective view of life and mortality dates back to early Christianity during the Medieval era, and became highly symbolic. Representations of Momento Mori themes were present in early art forms, architecture, and eventually jewelry, which was very popular during the Georgian era. Motifs often included skulls, skeletons, and inscriptions of the Latin phrase. When worn, Memento Mori jewelry serves as a reminder of human mortality, and the temporary, yet precious quality of life.
"Pinchbeck" is a form of brass, mixed in proportions so that it closely resembles gold in appearance. It was invented in the 18th century by Christopher Pinchbeck, a London clockmaker. The development of pinchbeck allowed ordinary people to buy jewelry that had look of gold.
A fantastic Pinchbeck stick pin from the Victorian (ca1880) era! This skull-shaped stick piece is highly reminiscent of antique "Momento Mori" jewelry. The 3-dimensional skull is quite detailed, including hollowed eye sockets, hollowed temples, individually carved teeth, and a raised nasal bone, adding further realism. The vibrant Pinchbeck finish gives a high-karat appearance to the piece, and two old Mine Cut diamonds are set in the eye sockets, adding a sparkling finishing touch! Extending below the skull is a simple bar pin stick that ends in a point, perfect for fastening the piece to a favorite garment for display. A fascinating and unusual historical piece, it would be right at home in any antique collection!
Measurements: The entire stickpin measures 2 3/4" in total length. The skull itself measures about 1/2" tall and 3/8" wide, and the stick pin bar is 1/16" thick. The total weight of the piece is 6 grams.
Condition: The stickpin is in excellent antique condition. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the skull or stick pin, which is securely attached. Both Mine Cut diamonds are intact and securely set. There is some light surface wear to the Pinchbeck finish, which is normal for an antique piece, but it does not detract from the appearance of the pin when worn.