Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Tiffany & Co. (1837–present)
ca. 1856
Made in New York, New York, United States
Oak and gold
Brooch: 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Susan and Jon Rotenstreich Gift, 2001
Accession Number:
Not on view
This brooch belongs to a demi-parure that also includes a matching pair of earrings. Wood from the “Charter Oak” tree is in carved relief with an oak branch, two acorns, and one empty acorn cap. The oak carving is set in a gold twisted-rope border. Inscribed in ink on the reverse is “Original/Charter/Oak/Hartford/Conn.” The demi-parure retains its original leather-covered case with a pale green satin and velvet interior, marked in gold “TIFFANY & CO./550 Broadway 552/NEW YORK.”

Local Hartford, Connecticut, legend holds that the Connecticut Charter Oak received its name after being used as a successful hiding place for the colony’s charter in the 1680s, when King James II demanded the document be brought back to England. On August 21st, 1856, the old tree toppled during a severe storm, and an entrepreneurially-minded Louis C. Tiffany salvaged pieces of wood which he made into jewelry to sell as keepsakes to sentimental patriots. According to a note found inside the box, this set was originally owned by a woman who had lived near the Charter Oak as a child.
Inscription: [brooch: in ink on reverse]: Original / Charter / Oak / Hartford / Conn. [paper adhered to underside of case]: [describing history of the set].

Marking: [top of box in gold]: TIFFANY & CO / 550 · BROADWAY · 552 / NEW YORK.
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