Order of the Garter : Georgian Enamelled Silver Crown Brooch


Could there be a more regal motif than Saint George Slaying the Dragon, accompanied by the text “Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense” (Shame to him who thinks evil of it)? This is the motto of the Order of the Garter; the oldest Order of Chivalry in the world.

This particular example is found on the “tails” side of a 1819 silver crown, which has been skilfully enamelled and converted from currency into a brooch by the addition of a hinged pin and c clasp. While the coin itself is undeniably Georgian in origin (it features the face of King George III on the reverse and the year 1819.) it was enamelled about 60 years later in the late 1880’s during Queen Victoria’s reign.

According to A Short History of Enamelled Coins, enamelled coins were particularly popular around the time of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.

“The majority of enamelled coins are based on the existing design of the original coin. The first task in the production process was to take out all the background of the coin, leaving the letters and pattern in. In some cases the letters and design were even removed. The enamel was then applied in layers, fired and then ground down to enable the colours to come through in varying shades. This process was often done in more than one stage to enable the intricate colours and painted effect to be perfected.”

The enamelling on this example is particularly finely done and features 6 different colours – a lengthy and involved process.

The practice of modifying coins ceased in 1929 when it became illegal to deface currency in the UK.

I always enjoy having pieces that will suit gentlemen’s attire, it doesn’t come my way often which is most disappointing (especially as I’m the only lass in a household of men) and this piece is much admired by all of my menfolk. It is intriguing in the subject matter, a conversation piece in the converted currency, and stylish to boot. This sizeable piece is best suited to heavyweight material such as a blazer or coat, the weight of it will pull on finer fabrics.

Please note there is a chip to the blue enamel ribbon between Qui and Mal (please see photos). It is barely noticeable when worn, but I do point it out as I’d hate for you to be anything less than thrilled. The date of 1819 is also only faintly legible due to years of rubbing against cloth – when worn the area where the date is written is the precise point at which the brooch rests.

The brooch measures 38mm in diameter, the coin is 2mm thick and the brooch weighs a hefty 25.8 grams.


A 1819 Georgian silver crown, skilfully enamelled and converted into a brooch in the Victorian Era.

The brooch measures 38mm in diameter, the coin is 2mm thick and the brooch weighs a hefty 25.8 grams.