Social status was very important during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and many women were judged and critiqued on what they wore and how they presented themselves. This beautiful, statement-making brooch that belonged to Rosamond Warren Gibson (1846– 1934) descended through the Gibson family. In 2010 it was acquired by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Purchased through Skinner Auction House, the brooch had an estimated sale price of $1,500–$2,000 but ended up selling for $7,110.
An evocative time piece, the brooch is made of 18-carat gold and displays pink topaz and old mine-cut diamond accents. Suspended from the brooch is a tear-drop-shaped pendant set with matching pink topaz and diamonds. Its original leather fitter box bears an applied sticker on the underside that reads “Jones, Ball, & Poor.” Jones, Ball, & Poor was a prominent silversmith company on Boston’s Washington Street during the nineteenth century.
We’re not sure how Rosamond acquired the brooch—whether it was inherited or given to her as a gift—but it seems the type of piece she would have reserved for special occasions.
By Emma Rose Cunningham, museum intern
Photo Credit: Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston website: http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/gem-set-brooch-with-pendant-drop-549750
Skinner Auction House website: https://www.skinnerinc.com/auctions/2529B/lots/264