Lover’s Eye Brooches

The book I’m currently reading deals somewhat with antique jewelry, and mentions lover’s eye brooches a few times.  Finally, I had to satisfy my curiosity.

The lover’s eye is a Georgian trend, originally intended to give the wearer a remembrance without revealing the identity of his or her lover.  Evidence suggests the brooches became popular when Prince George exchanged one with his lover, Mrs. Fitzherbert. Closer to the Victorian period, lover’s eyes were often used as a memorial.

Usually a brooch, though sometimes a ring or pendant, lover’s eyes are delicate gouache paintings on ivory, with a crystal covering.  They are exceedingly rare and fakes abound.  Generally, the more elaborate the setting, the more closely a collector should should scrutinize the piece.

Modern versions are as rare as antique.  Personally, I think lover’s eyes are beautifully creepy, and it’s time to dust off this delicious tradition.

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