Maker: Jaques & Marcus (active 1882–92)
Date: ca. 1882–92
Geography: Made in New York, New York, United States
Medium: Gold, pearl, demantoid garnets, and diamonds
Dimensions: L. 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Susan and Jon Rotenstreich Gift, 2001
Accession Number: 2001.246
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.