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Since the dawn of humankind, people have been using their hands to express themselves and to convey emotions.
From shaking hands in friendship to holding hands in affection, each little gesture takes on a symbolic meaning that often spans seas, cultures and time.
It's no surprise that these expressive motifs have been captured and celebrated in antique jewellery, particularly in the sentimental Georgian and Victorian eras.
This beautiful brooch of a hand holding a sheaf of English yew branches and a wreath of roses and forget-me-nots symbolizes sorrow, love and remembrance. It would have been worn while mourning the loss of a loved one.
This somber memorial piece is crafted in pressed horn. Before the invention of plastic, horn was often used to make jewelry, especially mourning pieces. The horn was pressed between iron plates and treated in water and oil baths to produce flat sheets. From there, it could be cut into jewelry or pressed into molds to create pieces such as this one.
With time, pressed horn layers can sometimes separate and chip. These flaws are not uncommon. The rough and scaly surface of the back is also true to the nature of pressed horn.
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