Submitted by jays on 22 January 2014 - 11:42am

This romantic gold bar brooch, featuring pearl-studded  stars and a pearl-studded crescent moon, was a gift from Edwin Stephen Rouse (1849-1931) to his fashionable wife Eliza Ann ‘Bessie’ Rouse (1843-1924) for Christmas 1886. Edwin Stephen bought the brooch on Christmas Eve 1886 from Hardy Brothers, goldsmiths and jewellers of Hunter Street, Sydney. In Victorian times seed pearls could symbolise tears when used in mourning jewellery but pearls could also be used to convey a personal message celebrating love.  Edwin and Bessie has been married for 12 years in 1886 and had two young daughters, Nina born in 1875 and Kathleen born in 1878. A portrait of Bessie by Sydney photographers Freeman & Co shows her wearing the brooch attached to a black velvet choker and dressed in stylish evening attire with a black bodice festooned in net. Bessie’s father William Buchanan had died in March 1885 so perhaps the dress, and the brooch on the choker, are examples of the elegant reticence that black costume could represent for a woman of Bessie’s age.

Photograph: Jamie North, 2013
Rouse Hill House & Farm
A gold bar brooch (-1) with a star and crescent moon design set with pearls. Made by Hardy Bros, Sydney, circa 1886. A gold bar brooch with a star and crescent moon design set with pearls. Made by Hardy Bros, Sydney, circa 1886 A gold bar brooch with a star and crescent moon design set with pearls. Made by Hardy Bros, Sydney, circa 1886. A head and shoulders portrait photograph of a woman, Bessie Rouse, wearing a dress with a square neckline and a black velvet at her neck decorated with a gold bar brooch A gold bar brooch (-1) with a star and crescent moon design set with pearls. Made by Hardy Bros, Sydney, circa 1886.
Portrait
Hamilton Rouse Hill Trust Collection
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HR93/201-1:2 + R88/45 [photograph]