This Tyrolean boy pin is a wonderful example of Victorian Whitby jet jewelry. The centerpiece is a handpainted porcelain portrait of a Tyrolean or vagabond boy resting his head on his hand. He is wearing the traditional green felt hat with feather. It is set in a faceted oval setting hand carved from Whitby Jet.
Genuine Whitby Jet is becoming quite scarce. It can no longer be mined in Whitby England since the mines run directly under the town. Any further mining would jeopardize the towns structures. The only source of Whitby Jet today for modern carvers is what washes off of the seaside cliffs. Whitby jet was prized by Victorians because it is extremely lightweight, carves well and is the most beautiful black color. It was the perfect medium for the large and chunky styles of jewelry that were popular at the time.
The Tyrolean, gypsy or vagabond boy was a popular motif that originated from Tyrol, a region of the Eastern Alps in Western Austria and Northern Italy. The Tyrolen Alps remain a tourist attraction to this day.
In very good condition for its age. There are some minor small scratches and two small fleabites on the front. There are some nicks and chips around the edges of the reverse but nothing that detracts. The simple c-clasp may have been repaired at some point but the tube hinge works well and the pin stem is straight. A wonderful piece of history and your chance to get a genuine Victorian Whitby jet piece for your collection! See photos.