This brooch is arguably one of Australia’s earliest pieces of jewellery, crafted from Australian gold and one of the nation’s earliest “miner’s brooches”. It comes from the same workshop of an unknown jeweller who crafted the important “Austin” brooch, which is now in the Powerhouse Museum.
The “Coppin” brooch and only six others, as illustrated in “Schofield”, “Cavill/Cocks/Grace” and various other publications come from this jeweller. Half of these, at least, are in public collections.
These are complicated works with a range of goldfield tools and familiar objects individually crafted and then set in what Eva Czernis-Ryl of the Powerhouse terms “Tableau” style.
Given the simplicity of this brooch, in particular the lack of foliage, compared to the other known pieces by this jeweller, one can assume that this comes from the earliest period of manufacture. It’s “sister” brooch adorns the top of the “Contents” page of “Schofield”.
This is a rare, very early example of Australian Colonial jewellery crafted in Victoria in the very early 1850’s.
Illustrated: Australian Financial Review 2016
Publications: “Bling.19th Century Goldfields Jewellery”
Maker: Unknown (Victoria, possibly Geelong))
Weight: 10.4 gms
Height: 4.2 cm
Width: 3.3 cm
Condition: Very good.