Throughout the course of time, herons have been held in high, spiritual regard in many civilizations.
Ancient Egyptians viewed the heron as a symbol of prosperity, while Ancient Greeks believed the heron was a messenger sent by Athena and Aphrodite, the goddesses of wisdom and love.
Several Native American tribes look at the heron as a symbol of patience and good luck, and in Celtic tradition, the heron stands for autonomy, persistence and longevity.
Fortunately, you don't have to have a spiritual connection with the heron to appreciate this beautiful piece (but if you do, that's makes it even more special)!
This exquisite early Victorian brooch is composed of three pieces of molded vulcanite stacked together to create a 3-dimensional work of art.
Developed and patented in the 1840s by both Charles Goodyear in the US and Thomas Hancock in Britain, vulcanite (also known as ebonite) was formed by combining sulphur and natural rubber and then heating -- or vulcanizing -- the mix. The result is a hard, black/brown material that often resembles ebony wood.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the inlaid gold leaf centerpiece, which is engraved with a highly detailed Grecian urn with a perfectly poised heron in the middle.
During the early and mid-1800s, archeological excavations of Ancient Greek, Roman and Ancient Egyptian sites piqued the interest of many Victorians, thus you began to see influences from these ancient cultures appear as popular jewelry motifs.
As is indicative of brooches of the era, this piece fastens with a simple C catch and the pin extends past the body of the brooch.
Date: 1860s Materials: Vulcanite, Gold Leaf Measurements: 2 1/2" x 1" Markings: None Condition: Very Good
Vulcanite has very faint surface scratches consistent with age and use. The pin back is slightly misshaped and the hinge moves slightly, but is still firmly attached and does not affect its structural integrity.