An antique Victorian tortoiseshell flying bird brooch with silver and yellow gold piqué. Circa 1860.
Piqué is French for ‘pricked’ and refers to jewelry and small decorative objects of tortoiseshell that have a pattern of inlaid silver and/or gold. There are two types of piqué: 1. piqué point, in which the metal is applied in tiny geometric shapes or points and 2. piqué posé, in which the metal is applied in strips to create patterns. The two types are often combined within the same piece. Piqué was popular throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.