Tiffany & Company (American, 1837present)
Coral, gold; 2000.564a: Overall 1 7/8 x 1 1/4 in. (4.8 x 3.2 cm); 2000.564b–c: Overall 1 13/16 x 11/16 in. (4.6 x 1.7 cm)
Purchase, Susan and Jon Rotenstreich Gift, 2000 (2000.564a–c)
Esteemed for its reputed curative properties, coral was a popular material for bead necklaces in colonial America and remained fashionable well into the nineteenth century. At first imported from Italy via England, it was later supplied directly from Naples, where the coral trade was centered. Entire sets of coral jewelry, consisting of a necklace, two bracelets, a brooch, and a pair of earrings, were imported into this country by mid-century. In 1856, the Paris correspondent for the Boston Transcript wrote, "All ornaments of coral are much in fashion."
Ranging in color from dark red to pinkish white, coral can be carved into a variety of designs. This delicately carved set of brooch and earrings reflects the mid-century taste for Rococo-style flowers. Each floral spray is slightly different, as it would be in nature. The brooch is mounted onto a naturalistic gold stem with applied pin, and the earrings onto their original shepherd's crook gold ear wires. One rose can be removed from each earring, thereby shortening the drop. The set retains its original shaped green leather case with satin and velvet interior. Lettered in gold inside the cover is the name of the retailer: TIFFANY & CO / 550 . BROADWAY . 552 / NEW YORK.