Hummingbird Suite – Nature Imitating Nature
A rare suite of zoomorphic jewellery, circa 1870, comprised of Broad-billed hummingbird heads mounted as a matching brooch and earrings. The hummingbird was the most popular bird used in jewellery in the 19th century due to its colourful iridescent plumage. From Godey’s Lady’s Book, December 1874 : ‘Hummingbird ornaments are so desirable because they are in effect jewels themselves, their colours compare to gemstones … their glancing heads are like a scrap of flaming foil as they perch saucily with outspread wings.’ These turquoise-throated, metallic green hummingbirds are mounted on high carat gold settings and have gold beaks and red glass eyes. The brooch is 2 inches long and one inch tall and the earrings are 1 and 1/3 inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide. It is rare to find intact hummingbird jewellery from the 19th century and to find a suite of brooch and earrings is most unusual.