Black Rose

1930's · Austrian · Black rose · Chalcedony · Lapidary · Nephrite · Old mine cut diamond · Onyx · Rose · Vienna




Vienna, Austria



Black chalcedony, nephrite, diamond, 585/1000 white gold

74,35 x 40,5 mm

18 grams



This elegant brooch in the shape of a black rose is made in the 1930s in Vienna, Austria. White gold was a newly used metal in those days. The naturalistic type of floral jewellery in different gemstones was an Austrian and German speciality. This black rose brooch is an example from the early period. Most flowers, fruits and nuts in this style were made later on, as these jewels were very much in demand in the 1950s and ’60s. The lapidarist or gemcutter sculpted for this brooch a marvellous black rose from matte dyed chalcedony. The stone seems black, but with backlight, it appears a very dark red. The leaves from the flower are made from nephrite, a variety of jade. The centre diamond is an old mine cut, and the smaller diamonds in the stem are single cut stones.

There is something magical about a black rose. It has a sort of mythical status, like the unicorn or mermaids. In the tiny village of Halfeti in Turkey, given the unique soil conditions and pH levels of the groundwater,  black roses are said to grow. Very, very special. In 2017 this proved to be an example of Fake News. For as far as is known, black is not a pigment that exists in the rose family. The only thing close is a very dark red rose like the Black Magic rose (first photo on this page). For a darker rose, the alternatives are roses that were on an inky menu, digitally manipulated photo’s (3rd photo of the Halfeti roses) and dyed roses.

The colour black has always been synonymous with mourning, so many people consider a black rose to symbolise loss and mortality, but it also indicates a significant change, mutiny, strength, courage and resistance.

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