Antique Pearl brooch. Rare Early Antique all natural freshwater river pearls pussy willow brooch - pin. Silver. European Hallmark. Pre-1700s.
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Rare Antique all natural freshwater river pearls and silver brooch....designed as a pussy willow branch, circa 1600-1700s. This is a very unique one of a kind piece of jewelry and a bit of a mystery. It is set with 10 all natural freshwater pearls measuring approximately 6mm to 10.5 mm long and 3.4 to 5.5mm wide. The brooch is 5.25 inches long and 6/1th inch wide. The pearls are all natural, NON-cultured pearls from freshwater mussels. They have been found by people, NOT made by people. Natural pearls form randomly in nature, without the aid of human intervention, and are rare. Please see below for more comments about natural freshwater pearls*.
The silky texture, luster, and iridescence are irresistible. Beautiful and Rare. The brooch bears a hallmark that I have not been able to identify, and a mark for 800 indicating the silver content of the metal. The closest hallmarks I could find to this were northern European and dated from the 1600s. They were similar, but not the same as this hallmark. I also have been unable to find a similar antique jewelry item....with similar metalwork... to help me identify the origin. So it is a bit of a mystery to me. SKU 3597i .
More pictures and video can be provided by request.
*Natural Freshwater pearls are found in freshwater mollusks living in freshwater sources like rivers, lakes or ponds. Many North American pearl mussels produce high-quality pearls. Use of these pearls for jewelry and decorative objects dates back at least 2,000 years, to the ancient Hopewell culture in Ohio.
From American Museum of Natural History:
[Freshwater] Pearl mussels live in lakes, rivers and streams. These freshwater mollusks produce pearls that can rival those of marine mollusks in luster and diverse color. Eastern North America has lost more than 35 species of pearl mussels to extinction in the last 50 years, chiefly from habitat destruction and pollution.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, requests, and comments. Thanks, Dave