Today I am wearing this antique comet pin on my jacket lapel. The dealer who sold this to me said that is made from 14k gold, black enamel, and a French “paste” stone. Like most antique comet pins, there is no maker’s mark. My guess is that, since it is from the Victorian era and since there is black involved, this pin might also be a piece of mourning jewelry. Perhaps a loved-one passed during the year that Halley’s Comet made its appearance?
I love the detail in this piece. The comet’s tail is similar to the shape of an arrow, and the prongs around the stone simulate a star burst. I am assuming that this is an earlier piece of Victorian jewelry because I’ve been told that later Victorian pins were not as ornate. It might even be from the Georgian era, which would be commemorating the 1835 appearance of Halley’s Comet. I would love for an expert to find this blog and comment here. 🙂
Humans have been making comet jewelry for hundreds of years, and Halley’s Comet has been a particularly rich source of inspiration for jewelers from the Georgian to the Victorian eras. When I first began collecting antique comet jewelry, I lamented the fact that I will probably be too old to work with wire the next time Halley’s Comet comes around. But then, I learned about the ISON comet that is supposed to be spectacular at the the end of this year (and, hello, Pan-STARRS comet!)! To me, this was a sign that I should not let Halley’s schedule get in the way of creating my own version of the comet.
Here is my version of a comet. I crafted this necklace from recycled sterling silver wire, sterling silver chain, and natural snow quartz. Comets consist of rock and ice, hence my choice of gemstone. I am excited about this design. and have plans to expand it further. In the meantime, I will share some of my collection of vintage comet jewelry here. Stay tuned!