An early piece by Willis and Sons dating to around the turn of the century circa 1900. Stamped with their iconic symbol of a ‘Unicorn’ '15ct' and the M.J.A - (Manufacturing Jewellers Association of Victoria) guarantee marks of a ‘Hanging Fleece', which Willis and sons used before 1904. Post 1904, they begun using ‘W’ instead.
An exceptional little piece, rare and rarely presenting to the market, and designed as a love Heart with a daisy style cluster to the centre and a further three small half seed Pearls as accents.
Solidly made and quite heavy for her size we would assume there is some ‘hollowness’ (but maybe not!) inside however not much... The heftiest little puffy Heart we’ve had the pleasure of handling.
Crafted in 15ct gold, sought after in its own right, fully hallmarked for one of the finest early Australian jewellers, this superb piece is a must for the serious Australian jewellery collector!
HISTORY OF WILLIS AND SONS
Originally established in Melbourne in 1858, the partnership between brothers Richard & Thomas Willis is remembered as one of Australia's most renowned jewellery partnerships that would span decades.
By 1868, R. & T. Willis were listed in the Melbourne directory as manufacturing jewellers as well as importers. In London, they were also recorded as V.J Manufacturing jewellers, the partnership being dissolved in 1874. By 1875, the firm was T. Willis and Co., under the control of Thomas and V.J. Willis.
Willis and Co. continued to trade as wholesaler jewellers and importers of watches, clocks, silver and electroplates wares. Additionally, the firm was listed as gold and silversmiths.
T.Willis and Co. were members of the M.J.A of Victoria, and in the 1890s used their mark of the 'Unicorn' in conjunction with the guarantee stamp of the Association. The Unicorn was derived from the Willis family crest.
The twentieth century marks of Willis and Sons Pty Ltd have been in use from 1904. By then their standard marks were 'Unicorns' a numeral expressing the gold standard plus the capital 'W'. The 'Unicorn' was also used with the abbreviation 'STG.SIL' to mark silverware.
For some 50 years after the closure of their manufactory, the company continued to trade as wholesaler jewellers, manufacturers, agents and importers. Arguably, their mantle as leading jewellery manufacturers in Australia was taken over in the 1930s by G. & E. Rodd.
Credit: Australian Jewellers: Gold & Silversmiths Makers & Marks. Cavill, Cocks & Grace
Garnet or early red paste (glass) - untested, irrelevant, price point would be the same
Half seed Pearl
1.9 cm X 1.4cm
‘Unicorn’ - For Willis and Sons
15 - For 15ct gold
‘Hanging Fleece’ - For the manufacturing M.J.A jewellery association guarantee mark for 15ct gold.
Very very good antique condition. All Pearl original, no re-glues. No dents as this is a very solid piece. No issues to note.