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Diamond Maltese Cross Brooch


This English Maltese Cross brooch glitters with robust old-cut diamonds set into silver-topped gold that has formed a rich patina, providing a dark stage upon which the diamonds can perform their magic with white light. Diamonds from this period were cut with crown-heavy proportions that balanced the stones’ unique capacity for creating fire, scintillation and brilliance. The brooch features a retractable pendant bail, converting easily into a pendant for a necklace. For a stylish look with period-appropriate flair, wear it as a pendant on a velvet ribbon, or as a complement to a rivière of old diamonds.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: BO-16759
Country: England
Circa: 1870s-1880s
Size: 2” length, 2” width
Materials: Old European-cut diamond (weighing approximately 2.25 carats); 129 Old European- and mine-cut diamonds (approximate total weight 15.75 carats); Silver-topped 15K gold; Retractable pendant bail; Together with antique box
Literature: The Maltese Cross in early-19th century jewelry is discussed in Understanding Jewelry, by David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti, Woodbridge, England: Antique Collectors’ Club, reprinted 2006, pp. 85-86

The Maltese Cross, known as the Amalfi Cross in Italy, was associated in the 19th century with the popular Knights of St. John, who were honored by Queen Victoria for their extraordinary charitable work. The cross’ eight points are thought to represent the knights’ eight charitable duties and the eight Beatitudes conveyed by St. Matthew.