Gold brooch, featuring a small natural nugget, made by Melbourne jeweller Aronson & Co circa 1900.

From around 1854, jewellers in goldfield towns such as Ballaarat and Kalgoorlie and in the cities of Melbourne, Geelong, Perth and Adelaide began to craft brooches using gold nuggets as the focal point of the brooch.

Commissioned by miners as tokens of their success to present to family and friends, both in Australia and back home in Europe and elsewhere, the style was soon adopted by jewellers with the aim to sell them to visitors to the various goldfields as souvenirs.

Simple in form, they mostly comprised the mounting of a raw nugget on a plain gold base or parallel bars of gold, sometimes embellished with some swirls or finials.

Unfortunately, these gold nugget brooches are now becoming scarce in quantity due to the lack of knowledge of their historical and jewellery value by unknowledgeable and unscrupulous gold buyers, where they were purchased and melted down for their gold value only. Some were also lost when they were sold for their gold value during times of hardship.

Physical Description

Gold double bar brooch in 9ct gold with decorative detailing, featuring a small natural nugget.

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