Collectable Jewellery

Vintage Butler & Wilson Swarovski Eagle Head Brooch Pin


Shipping to United States: Free
  • Details
    Gorgeous vintage Butler and Wilson Iconic large clear crystal Eagle head brooch. One of the most famous of the B&W brand brooches, and one of the rarest. It is really a piece of jewelry art, beautifully balanced, heavy and beautiful. The eagle head is three dimensional, wide in depth and very tactile. The hood above the eye has been depicted in exquisite detail. and the black crystal eye set in a gold plated socket. Each feather has lovely millgrain detailing around the stones around the two deeply set crystals. This is when the edges of the metal have been worked with a knurling tool to produce tiny beads, hence the French name “Millgrain” meaning a thousand beads.
    Whichever way the brooch is positioned it captured the light and glistens. The beak and the base of the neck are gold plated which beautifully sets off the crystals and rhodium plate of the bulk of the head

    These early pieces are rare and this is a particularly fine example of early Butler and Wilson jewelry before they turned to mass production and the QVC channel

    Measuring 4” by 2 1/2”

    Marked B&W in a round cartouche on the back. The brooch pin is secured with a fully functional long pin and rollover clasp

    Sold in excellent vintage condition with its original stones and settings


    From the very beginning the legendary English costume jewellers Butler & Wilson never did subtle. Wilson and his partner Nick Butler started life 40 years ago on an antique jewellery market stall in Antiquarius in London's King's Road. Three years later, they opened their famous shop on the Fulham Road and added their first original designs to their Art Deco Collection. By the end of the decade, the Butler & Wilson team had been asked to design the Christmas lights in Regent Street. In the next decade, they were commissioned to work with both Pirelli calendars and Georgio Armani; they established a foothold in Harrods and a shop on Sunset Boulevard in LA. When Buckingham Palace opened up to the scrutiny of the general public, Butler & Wilson were appointed to design a range of jewellery inspired by the palace's interiors. They also had a long-term fan in Princess Diana.
    Future historians of human adornment may puzzle over the 1970s vogue for fake diamanté spiders worn on ladies' black evening dresses. Students of fashion will wonder why bow-tied teddy bears in rhinestones began to adorn female lapels in the power-dressing 1980s. Psychologists of male purchasing patterns will speculate why so many comfortably-off men, on their wives' birthdays, instead of heading for Asprey and Tiffany's to purchase an 18-carat diamond, went instead to a shop in London's Fulham Road and picked out a pewter-crystal flamingo to adorn the memsahib's bosom...

    Why were these bits of jewellery so popular? Because they were gorgeous, and cute and witty, and lent a lustre of vivacity to ordinary people and ordinary clothes. All had an old-fashioned gaiety about them; they were throwbacks to the Jazz Age and the flapper decade, not just their Art-Deco designs but their love of paste diamonds and resplendent fakery for its own sake.

    A slightly shocking lurch down-market, saw Butler & Wilson linked up with the QVC shopping channel. It made them a fortune and saw the signature designs of their early days being joined by rhinestone Bambis and yet more animals and birds: raccoons, owls and butterflies. It all served to make these early classic pieces hard to find collectors pieces that are now hugely sought after and traded.
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