Edward Burr American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 706

By the mid-nineteenth century, Americans were experiencing an era of innovation in science and industry. Among the latter was the jewelry industry, which, like fashions in dress, looked to Europe for inspiration. A nostalgic romanticism infused contemporary styles in both England and America. Such mid-eighteenth-century motifs as flowers and scrolls began to reappear. This lovely half-set of brooch and earrings emulates French and English designs in the use of dark blue enamel set with diamonds and pearls. Enameling was still a little-practiced art in America, requiring the skills of a specialized craftsman. The process involved heating vitreous (glassy) enamels to bond them onto a metal surface, in this case gold. This jewelry is still housed in its original box, the lid of which is imprinted with the name and address of the jeweler: E. W. BURR / 573 B.WAY / NEW-YORK. City directories indicate that Edward Burr moved to 573 Broadway by 1858, helping us to establish a date for the set.

Brooch, Edward Burr (active 1838–68), Gold, pearls, diamonds, and enamel, American

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