Parure, Tiger Claws and 15K Yellow Gold, England, c. 1880. Estimated $ 8,000.00. Sold for $ 10,000.00. Photo Auctionata
The Victorian parure consists of a necklace, brooch, and a pair of earrings that are set with tiger claws mounted in 15 karat yellow gold. The necklace is centered by a pair of tiger claws set back to back in a low domed triangular formed mounting highlighted by engraving suspending a tiger claw pendant that has an engraved endcap with applied wire twist and gold fringe. The necklace is completed by fourteen tiger claws that are graduated in size with engraved gold mounts joined together by two rows of chain. The necklace is encircled by a braided gold chain that forms a festoon pattern around the necklace. The necklace is completed by a gold clasp in form of a tiger claw with a box clasp. The brooch is composed of two tiger claws that are mounted back to back with a central engraved band flanked by reticulated borders with a terminal of gold beads and matching end caps. The earrings are each set with a single tiger claw mounted in a similar fashion as the brooch and suspended from shepherds hook ear wires. In good condition with some minor fraying to the gold chain, slight splitting in the grain of the natural material of the claws, evidence of regluing one of the claws into the mounting, box in need of restoration.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, tiger claws were used in jewelry from India, Malaysia and China. Originally considered to be a talisman to ward off danger, harm and illness, tiger claws were highly prized in many cultures for their perceived magical powers. In the age of the Maharajah, tigers and big game hunting became a favorite past time amongst the wealthy from many continents. When Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1877, it continued to foster an already insatiable interest in foreign travel and exoticism. Suites such as this were created specifically for the English market and in the English taste of the period.