Antique Australian gold bar brooch with heart decoration and leaves, circa 1900


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A seemingly modest bar brooch … but it reveals more than meets the eye in more ways than one.

The front lifts to show a secret inner bar, ready to take a personalised inscription known only to the giver and the wearer. (It’s a variation on the REGARD ring listed separately.)

This example is marked 15 carat, with a typically Australian hallmark from around 1900. The mark – it appears to be AS or SA – is in the reference book Australian Jewellers by Cavill, Cocks and Grace, but the maker is unknown.

The bright blue central stone is almost certainly a garnet-topped doublet. Gemstones were in short supply in this young country. Gold and cheap labour to work it were more abundant.

As Australia was a British colony until 1901, our jewellery styles were very similar to those of our ancestors. Sadly, though, our early pieces were never as refined as the best of the English. This is not surprising given our short history and the struggle for existence in the young colony.

The heart motif was very popular here. The evergreen ivy leaves engraved around it symbolise enduring affection.

This pin is in as-new condition. The tarnish is a quirk of 15-carat gold – it’s characteristic of how it oxidises and could be easily polished off.


• Handmade in 15-carat yellow gold
• Set with a garnet-topped doublet
• Approximately 4.40cm (1.73 inches) wide, (0.43 inches) tall
• Weight is 5.8 grams
• In excellent antique condition
• Note: the antique box is not included

I’d be very happy to send more information and images.

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