Click to enlarge
This huge, spectacular brooch is made up from an Ancient Egyptian winged scarab group in Shabti, or blue-glazed earthenware, about 3000 years old. The scarab was the symbol of eternal life, and winged scarabs were placed underneath the wrappings on a mummy's chest to ensure its owner's transport into the other world. The unusually large size of this example indicates a very important person.
The gold mounting was done probably at one of two periods - either around 1869 when the Suex Canal was opened by the French Empress Eugenie, for which Verdi wrote Aida, or in the 1920s after the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb created another bout of Egytomania. The mount, tested as 18ct, is extremely well made. One wing has been skillfully repaired, and may be associated with the other two sections.
The brooch is 6 inches: 15 cms in width.