The Ada Brooch

Ada Brooch

In the early fall of last year, I was invited to view this Magnificent Jewel with a couple of friends and jewelers, Tom Herman and Leila Tai. The Newark Museum had recently purchased Ada Rehan’s Morning Glory Brooch, and Ulysses Dietz the Chief Curator of the museum was kind enough to have us visit and view the brooch first hand.

Several years prior I traveled to NY’s Forbes Gallery to see the brooch and it was hanging on a display just as you see it in the photo above. Never had I thought it had any movement, so it was quite the surprise when we picked it up! The movement was like a young kitten, limp in your hand.


I believe we counted 4-5 joints in the 5 inch jewel. As a brooch or pendant it would lay with the movement of the body or clothing in any position. The 3D flowers and buds allow the light to shine through to enhance the color of enamels in this plique a jour beauty. Quite amazing the structure showed no signs of stress.

It appeared the joints were assembled with copper pegs. Tom believes this makes it easier to form as a cold connection and not damage the surrounding enamels.


You can see how small the hinge is with the large flower bloom combination, allowing the bloom to move easily.


Above is a small screw showing, and below, the last two buds have a joint also to keep them in a dangling motion.


The bloom itself was enameled separately and placed into the sepal acting as a bolt to hold the bloom in place by the stamen as seen here.


The colors of enamel flow softly and gently along the chased gold stems while filling large open cells on reoccurring surface curves and accomplishing beautiful gradation of color changes. The result is outstanding!

The metal of the leaves measured 1.5mm and the average thickness of the flowers were .83mm. The stem was 2mm and the enamel average was .35mm. Not much enamel to get the color changes you see here!

Flipping between all of the images you can see how the front of the blooms have been stoned and the back was left glossy from the last firing.

In a couple of books on enameling written in the 1800’s they mention using 200 grit enamels to have them lighter than say, 80 grit as I like to use in Cloisonne. The lighter weight should help to hold them in place to have a successful fusion.

The clasp I would also like to share with you, as it also is amazing.


The curves of the pin back follow the stem structure of the jewel. It attaches to the stem with this nut and bolt finding you see above. On the opposite end is the hinge, fitting in the loop before the nut and bolt is attached to the stem. Pictured below.


Here you can see the top of the screw that is the clasp for the pin tip.


You probably notice the extra jumpring on the stem. There is one at each end for the chased and enameled necklace to attach.

There is much more to be shared. For example we found 5 of these stamped Marcus and Co. from the same time.


A must see at the Newark Museum!

The Newark Museum 49Washington St. Newark, NJ 07102