Diamond & Black Onyx Antique Brooch Set in Silver
Dating from the 1870s, this is an archetypal example of the sort of brooch Victorian ladies wore during the day.  It consists of 44 old-cut diamonds surrounding a rectangular carved-cut piece of black onyx with four smaller rectangular pieces of black onyx intersecting the four ends of  what appears to be a rectangle but is actually an elongated octagon.  The diamonds and black onyx are linked by a series of elaborately wrought, curlicued black enamel canals. It is set in silver.

"I have had this brooch for many years and I never cease to be amazed by how utterly contemporary it looks when you wear it with the latest fashions.   Because it was made at a time when ladies shied away from ostentation, it can be worn day or night.  Over the years, I have been photographed in it endlessly, and have also often worn it on book tours and on television. It is a genuine classic, the sort of item every woman needs," Lady Colin Campbell says.

A brooch of this calibre made today with the same quantity of stones of a similar size and quality, and rendered in a similar manner in 18 carat white gold, would start at £19,000. 

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From Lady Colin Campbell in Association with Haute Joaillerie