Art & Crafts Pin

November 21st, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

We recently acquired this sweet little diamond and 18K gold pin from the late 19th century. It’s a perfect example of the ideas behind the Arts & Crafts movement– made by traditional fabrication methods using simple tools to create simple forms and styles of decoration.

The jeweler made the main stem of the piece by forging 18K gold wire into a tapered form. He used a jeweler’s hand saw to split the large end of the taper to form a Y to which he added a crescent wire of gold. He soldered the stem to the diamond setting which is composed of three concentric circles held in position by gold cross bars. Notice how he curled the ends of the Y into a simplc decorative element. A pin assembly was added to complete the metal work, then the diamond was set and the pin polished. We’ve left the patina of age on the pin.

The most interesting part of the pin is the innovative way the jeweler made the pin catch. It’s just a gold wire loop formed into an elegant S shape, soldered to the back of the main tapered wire. A gold wire attaches to and stabilizes the loop on one side, while the opposite side is left open for the pointy end of the pin stem to fit into. The wire is perfectly shaped to cover the sharp end of the stem.


The simplicity of this important part of the jewel is remarkable, especially when you compare it other pin catches of the period and after. Most have moving parts which have to be properly aligned in order to work properly. They can be tricky to operate and are easy to bend out of shape.

The ingenuity of this jeweler to create a perfectly functional catch with no moving parts using basic materials and hand tools is the essence of what the Arts & Crafts movement was all about. These ideas are still important today and are often expressed in the jewelry of the Modern Period. See Mardon Blog ,

At Mardon, we always adding new items to our estate department. Not only are these items beautiful, they often teach us about our history, not only of jewelry but also of our culture. We incorporate these lessons into many of the original and custom works we create right here in Rivcrside.

Stop by at our new location soon, at the Canyon Crest Towne Centre, next to the Rite Aid.


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