Mounted in yellow gold and composed of four finely-decorated scarab beetles. The reverse of each scarab contains a glass locket compartment, two with original blue silk lining.
While Egyptian Revival jewelry is not uncommon, the current bracelet is a rare and exceptional example of a jewel from this movement. Its scale is oversized and larger than most revivalist jewels of the period. In addition to its unusual size, it is uncommon to find a piece which incorporates multiple scarab moldings. Finally, the bracelet features exceptional goldwork.
Many Victorian jewels are sentimental; here, the swiveling individual lockets provide space to hold secret mementos to the wearer - each may contain a name, a lock of hair, or love note or word dedicated to that special person.
Ernesto Pierret was born in Paris in 1824 but moved to Rome as a young man where he trained as a goldsmith. It has been suggested that he may have been an apprentice or at least spent some time in the workshop of Castellani due to the similarity in style and mastery of technique both firms display.
In 1846 he opened his own shop and worked at building a reputation for his beautifully executed jewelry. In 1853 Murray’s ‘Handbook to Central Italy and Rome’ describes him as being ‘now one of the first artists in Rome for Etruscan jewellery’ and ‘second only to Castellani’.
Pierret’s work is celebrated for its exceptional quality and highly ornate goldwork, often including micro mosaics, cameos and intaglios as well as ancient Egyptian scarabs and Roman coins. These are mostly commonly set alongside typical Archaeological and Etruscan revivalist motifs.
Ernesto Pierret’s work is housed in important collections all over the world including the British Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Cooper Hewitt and the Toledo Museum.