Items in Focus – Halleys Comet


Halleys Comet jewellery has been created at various times throughout history to celebrate & mark the visible orbit of the comet which appears every 75-76 years.

Sir Edmund Halley was the man who analysed reported sightings of a comet passing by earth in 1531, 1607 & 1682 and he discovered that all of these sightings were one and the same comet and predicted its return from these observations.

The return of the comet in 1835 was celebrated by jewellers who began to create jewellery pieces in its physical form. One of the pieces that has been showcased in our catalogue this year is a “Halleys Comet” brooch. The extravagant but delicate gold cannetille detail frames faceted quartz stones that have been colour foil backed in pink and purple. These features are typical of the Georgian era and this is really an exemplary historical piece.

Halleys Comet returned again in 1910, the Edwardian period. Jewellery was again made in tribute to the comet, only by this time fashion had changed becoming less embellished and more streamlined. There was more emphasis on the design of the tail on the comet.

In 1986 the comet visited us again, there was much less fanfare from jewellers, but there were some pieces made. These were more in a costume style using base metal & coloured enamel. This particular Comet Brooch from circa 1986 showcases this. Others where made with gold and diamond and other varieties of precious metal and gems.

What we’ve been illustrating here is the use of jewellery to capture a particular time a particular moment. The piece tells a story and can become your story. At The French Jewel Box all our pieces tell a story. Whats yours?