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An exquisite bar brooch with a gold plated surface over a brass base. The gold upper is inserted with back enamel as Neillo (an inlay technique in which the grooves made in silver or gold are made black in colour by the use of a composition of metal sulfides) to reveal foliage like scrolls. In the centre is an oval locket window, where today your own personal effect can be placed. Given its mourning-style heritage I see it dated, circa. late Victorian.

Tip. The locket window pops out by pressing gently on one side and prising out the revealed lip with your nail. It’s replaced in an opposite fashion.

'Mourning Brooches
Queen Victoria made black jewellery fashionable after the death of Prince Albert in 1861. This is why it is widely associated with the Victorian Era, although mourning jewellery dates back to the 16th Century. Queen Victoria and the members of her court not only attended the funeral of Prince Albert donning mourning jewellery – they dressed in black clothing and matching mourning jewellery for decades following his death.

They became so popular, in fact, that England was reportedly importing around 50 tonnes of human hair per year during the middle of the 19th century to be used by jewellers to create mourning jewellery.

Early mourning jewellery could be described as more macabre and symbolised the concept of ‘memento mori’ which is a reminder that you will die. This style featured depictions of death itself: think skulls, coffins and grave diggers, while later mourning jewellery centred on the memory of individuals with inscriptions like ‘lost but never forgotten’ and imagery of angels or clouds, flowers like the ‘forget me not’ and later by the end of the 19th Century a bit more colour like turquoise being the colour of the forget me not.

Very good condition. The locket window works well with care. Some age related surface ware and a very small nick to the black enamel at the outer edge, but otherwise very nice overall.

Please see the images as they form part of the description and condition.


An unusual bar brooch that works well today as when it was first made.

Materials: Gold plate on brass and enamel
Size: 4cm x 1cm
Weight: 33 grams
Era: Late Victorian
Stamps: None

Please note. Additional items in the images are for display purposes only. This includes vintage jewellery boxes.

Glad plated Neillo enamel bar brooch with locket window, circa. late Victorian