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Edwardian 15ct Gold, Enamelled Spider & Turtle Brooch set with Natural Split Pearls

Rare Find 480 Admirers
Written by Olly Gerrish

Brooches such as these were made in the early 1900s are called Novelty brooches.
These two brooches are 15ct gold and features a spider and a turtle. Both have been enamelled in green and red enamel. The spider has garnet eyes and there are graduated natural split pearls in both. They represent an old tale from Ghana in Africa.

The story goes like this.

One day, after a long walk, the turtle smelled some delicious food. He knocked at the door of the spider’s house and said, “I am very hungry after walking such a long way. Something smells wonderful. Can I join you for lunch?”
The spider was quite greedy and selfish. He did not want to share his lunch, but also didn’t want to appear rude.
“Please join me,” said the spider, “but first you must wash your hands.”
The turtle looked at his hands and saw they were full of dirt. “I’ll go to the river and wash,” said the turtle.
The spider began to eat. When the turtle returned and came to the table, the spider said, “Your hands are still dirty. Go back and clean them again.”
This time the turtle tiptoed back to the spider’s house. He was very careful to keep his hands clean. But by the time he reached the table, the spider had finished all the food except for a few small crumbs.
The turtle was angry and hurt, but he said, “Thank you for the lovely meal. Please come to my place soon. In return, I will make you something special.”
The spider knew that the turtle was a great cook, so a few weeks later he went to the bank of the river near the turtle’s underwater home.
“Hello,” said the turtle, poking his head out of the water. “Please have dinner with me. I have everything ready in my house down below.”
The spider could smell the delicious food and jumped into the water. But the spider was much too light. He kept popping back up to the surface.
The spider tried everything to stay underwater. Finally he had an idea. He filled his pockets with stones. It worked! Now he was heavy enough to sink down to the turtle’s home.
The spider saw all the great food and was ready to dig in when the turtle said, “We do not eat with our jackets on. Kindly remove yours.”
The spider took off his jacket and immediately popped up and out of the water. As he looked down, he could see the turtle eating up all the delicious food. Hungry, wet and disappointed, he headed home.

The moral of the story: Never try to outsmart someone. You may find that you yourself are the one to be outsmarted!

Ollys Pick

I love Novelty brooches especially this unusual one.

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Item Number
Spider 2.5cm by 2.8cm
Tortoise 1.8cm by 1.5cm
Length of chain 7cm
Date & Origin

Unmarked, tested to 15ct gold

Very Good
Care Tips
  • Avoid chipping enamel
6 months ago
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