Antique comet pins tend to not be very realistic looking. Sometimes I wonder if they truly were created to represent comets, or if collectors just decided to call them comets. It’s not like I have an old photo of a Victorian woman wearing a comet pin at a Comet Halley party, or a painting of Georgian man gifting his beloved a pin while a comet soars past in the sky. All I know is what today’s experts have told me, and I want to believe them so I do. This little pin here, complete with its own little diagram, helps me believe that these types of pins were indeed created to celebrate the comet!
Comet ISON is now in that little ball stage far away…but it is getting close and is becoming more visible to us. I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving, when Comet ISON is scheduled to be its most viewable from Earth!
I purchased this sweet little (late Victorian?) 10k comet pin online. The photo was terrible, and so I was delighted when I got to view this piece in person (or shall I say “in pin”?). Anyway, after taking the above photo I noticed that it has a “black dot paste” gem. Cool!
Paste, in case you don’t know, is basically glass that has been treated as a gemstone. Antique “paste” is very special because it was not mass produced like today’s glass stones are. Black dot paste is a paste stone that has a tiny black dot painted on the bottom. This is supposed to mimic the open culet of early diamond cuts.
I don’t normally purchase items online that have terrible pictures, but this time I lucked out! 🙂
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. 🙂