I have found my grandmother's brooch. She is dead now, so I can’t ask her about it.

Can anybody determine what kind of jewelry this is? I'm also curious about whether this type of jewelry had or has value of significance, if someone happens to know (yes, maybe it’s cheap, it doesn’t matter).

I have already tried to find it in Google pictures search, got 0 common results. My grandmom lived in USSR, Italy and France; maybe this information can help somehow.

enter image description here

  • 1
    The basic question about the nature of the piece is kind of an "art appreciation" one, which is currently off-topic (the site's focus is on making art). But this looks like a handcrafted item and someone might want to replicate it or copy the style. So hopefully, readers will view the question in that context and give it some leeway. Good luck.
    – fixer1234
    Jan 2, 2020 at 18:44
  • Frankly speaking, I don't really know, where to ask such question, searched StackExchange for "jewelry" and found crafts.stackexchange. Thanks for your answer.
    – Alex Sham
    Jan 2, 2020 at 20:15
  • 1
    I'm still voting to close, especially since History.SE seems like a better place for this type of identification inquiries (with questions like this, in which case you might need to provide more information if you possibly can).
    – Joachim
    Jan 3, 2020 at 9:30
  • Yes, thanks, now it's clear, where to create such threads.
    – Alex Sham
    Jan 3, 2020 at 17:01

3 Answers 3


Some more observations that didn't fit into a comment:

  • The stones are certainly no precious stones. The color indicates glass stones. If you're willing, you could try scratching the surface in an unobtrusive place like the edge where they're connected to the metal. If you can chip or scratch them with a nail or other sharp object, they are glass stones.
  • The shade of the metal could indicate silver, but the dark and consistent shadows in all the recesses could mean it's a non-precious metal that was dipped into a color wash to make it look like silver. You can clearly see the color in the areas of the leftmost cross.
  • All silver (or gold) objects should have a "Hallmark" at the backside, which is a special punch denoting the content of precious metals. If there is no hallmark anywhere on the piece, it is not silver or any precious metal.
  • If this were a high value artisan work, these hallmarks would be on each of the pendants as well. There would also be special hallmarks indicating the artist.

Example of english silver hallmarks:

jewelry hallmarks

All things considered it doesn't give the impression of having any material value. Far more interesting would be the symbolic value, but unfortunately I cannot help you with that. It could be that each of the pendants has a certain meaning that, combined with the other symbols and the place where it was made, could tell a story, commemorate an event, show the association with a certain society or symbolize wishes for the bearer's life.


I have very little expertise in jewelry, but can offer some observations and guesses.

The brooch appears to be handmade costume jewelry (i.e., decorative but not containing elements of significant value like gem stones or a lot of precious metals).

  • The colored cabochons appear glued on; stones of any value would typically be mounted in a secure setting.
  • The metal looks like it may be silver.
  • "High end" jewelry tends to have a symmetry and/or regularity, and very fine "fit and finish". It usually has a certain design "delicacy". This piece is the opposite in all of those respects. It's the kind of item created by an artisan with some technical skill, but probably little training in, or appreciation of, "art". They make individual pieces that are not what anyone would call "gorgeous", but are more kind of interesting because they break the traditional rules and are unusual, and a little "unrefined".

    So it looks like it was made by a crafter rather than a jeweler. Also, it wouldn't need to be made from scratch; it is made from components that a crafter could purchase and assemble with basic, inexpensive tools.

I've encountered jewelry of this general nature in places like craft fairs and small shops that sell handcrafted items. My guess would be that your grandmother came across this in such a place and thought it was cool. It might even be the brooch equivalent of a charm bracelet, where your grandmother picked the component charms that represented something personal. Or perhaps she knew somebody who crafted these kinds of items who made it for her, so it had special meaning or sentimental value to her.

  • Glad you mentioned charm bracelets. It looks like someone took a charm bracelet and converted it into a broach, explains the chain links at the top. Possibly it was a loved one who passed and was cut into pieces to share with their descendants.
    – rebusB
    Jan 14, 2020 at 22:54
  • ...owned by a loved one...
    – rebusB
    Jan 16, 2020 at 15:12

Cherry amber and chrysoprase. Common in those areas for use of in costume jewelry

  • This only addresses a part of the question, can you expand on this, and tell us why you think these are used in the brooch?
    – Joachim
    Jan 12, 2020 at 22:09

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