An impressive Arts and Crafts brooch c1910 attr William Thomas Blackband with rock crystal and pink tourmalines


A truly, awe-inspiring piece of hand-crafted English Arts and Crafts work, attr William T Blackband c1910

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What a fabulous statement piece of hand-crafted English Arts and Crafts work, c1910. Attributed to William Thomas Blackband of the Birmingham School, this has to be one of the most intricately and precisely worked pieces I have yet to come across. Clearly hand-made (you can see specific tool marks to the verso) and with such a fine hand, all four repeats of the design are superbly executed, almost like an exhibition piece of what could be done in Art and Crafts’ work. Blackband was held in such high esteem for both his jewellery design and his execution that he eventually went on to become Headmaster of the Vittoria Street School of Jewellery in Birmingham.

The combination of stones are just perfect, a huge and beautifully-faceted rock crystal, that throws light around easily, sits at the centre of the design, with a large pink tourmaline cabochon placed in each of the four corners. We all love pink stones don’t we, especially as it is one of the lesser found colours in antique A&C work. If you could imagine many of the jewellery-making techniques taught in that era at Vittoria Street school you would find most of them in this piece. The pierce work, the mounting of the stones and the adornment of fine silver ropework around the base of the stones and also to create smaller “fields” within the overall design. Then there are the hand-crafted oak leaves (another typical Blackband motif), the groupings of small silver balls and the presence of many hand-wrought spirals( a motif used a lot by Blackband) both in solid silver wire and also with the rope work wire.

This is an impressive and important piece of work which the photos really do not do justice to. There is some patina from her years, especially around the tourmalines, where there are intricate spirals. I prefer to leave the cleaning / polishing to the new owner’s taste. It would clean easily as the stones are all open-backed, making it easier to polish without damaging the stones. She is a large, statement piece and despite first impressions with the patina….a light and joyful piece. Of huge proportions -that central stone is astonishing at approx 2.9cm in diameter. The brooch itself measures approx 7cm by 7cm. It has a rollover safety clasp. Main stone-perfect and in fact, only one tiny nibble to one tourmaline, right at the point it meets the setting. It is small and I certainly would not attempt to replace the original stone, as those four tourmalines were meant to be together.

I will send in a new gift box (box in images for display only) and by complimentary special delivery in the UK and by express courier internationally. ref:csh