The body of this insect-form brooch is set with a large natural gray-green pearl and eight demantoid garnets; the head is pave-set with two demantoid garnets and diamond eyes. All of the gems are set in naturalistically chased gold, and six delicate gold legs extend from the body. The hook is marked 'J&M,' for Jaques & Marcus, a New York City jewelry firm active from about 1882 to 1892. The piece survives in its original case, a green velvet box lined in cream-colored satin and velvet, and marked inside the lid with 'JAQUES & MARCUS/BROADWAY/CORN 17TH. ST./NEW YORK.'
During the nineteenth century an increased interest in natural history contributed to a vogue for novelty jewelry in the form of birds, animals and especially insects. Fashionable ladies became enamored with these creepy bugs made from precious materials, and happily pinned jeweled insects to their hairdos and gowns.
Marking: Brooch marked on hook: J & M. Box marked inside lid: JAQUES & MARCUS / BROADWAY / CORNER 17th (the superscript) · ST. / NEW YORK.
Artist: Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, New York 1848–1933 New York)Date: ca. 1904Medium: Gold, silver, platinum, black opals, boulder opals, demantoid garnets, rubies, enamel.Accession: 2002.620On view in:Gallery 743