As rare as the proverbial hens teeth these superb Victorian Piquè earrings are simply exquisite.
Crafted quite probably in France, perhaps England, around 1870-1880 from Hawksbill tortoise shell in pendoloque/torpedo drop style and meticulously inlaid with iridescent pieces of Mother of Pearl and silver wire work.
Articulated between the upper round pique sphere (with its one single tiny piece of MOP) to the bottom drop allowing movement which catches the various shimmering pinks, blues and greens which dance in the light!
History of Pique
Pronounced ‘pee-kay’ the world pique comes from the French war ‘piquer’ (to prick) and therefore describes the craft of inlaying gold, silver, ivory or in this case Mother of Pearl into the tortoiseshell.
Discovered and perfected during the 17th century by the French Huguenots who later taught the English jewellery artisans the skill.
Prior to 1870 the materials are cut exclusively by hand allowing for incredibly fine and intricate detail.
There are two types of pique work.
Pique point: tiny metal pins or wires are inserted in to the material in pin-point dots which create an intricate pattern made up of dots.
Piquè posè: small gold, silver motor of pearl of sometimes ivory fit in an engraved design usually scenic or floral.
This fine and stunningly beautiful pair measure a drop from the 9ct gold shepherd hooks to the base of 5.8cm and at the widest ping 1.02cm.
Now a lost art due to the protection (and rightly so) of the Hawksbill tortoise and the necessary skill and craftsmanship to achieve this intricate work Piquè jewellery is becoming increasingly collectible and Paris of earrings doubly so!
Mother of Pearl
Gold 9ct shepherds hooks
5.8cm Drop from ear
1.02cm At widest point
Very very good antique 150 year old condition. No losses of Motor of Pearl or silver wire work. No repairs. Shepherds hooks original and strong with no distortion or bends. No cracks of splits to the tortoiseshell. No issues to note.