This bear brooch is by the French designer Marie-Christine Pavone. It is made of Galalith, which comes from the Greek Gala (milk) and Lithos (Stone), one of the earliest forms of plastic, patented in France in 1906. But the foundation of the process dates to a decade earlier. In 1895 two German chemists, Wilhelm B. Krische and Adolf Spitteler, dreamed of replacing the classroom blackboard (in those days they were made of slate and heavy) with a light white hard surface that could be written on and wiped clean with a moistened sponge. A ‘Wipe Board’ no less.

Each Pavone piece is cut by hand and polished for days in a rotating drum. It is then dyed and hand polished. Pavone jewellery is characterised by its bright colours, often in unexpected juxtapositions. Many pieces have additional lacquer work and some are hand decorated by the artist. In the case of my sailor bear, this is his clothes and his facial features and paws.

My jaunty Pavone bear often comes on holiday with me, he’s my lucky travel mascot. So far he has been all around the UK, to Russia, Italy, Sweden and Finland and soon he will be off to Iceland.

You can find two other Pavone brooches on The Casket: one on the Thoughts page, a large orange cat – I used to wear this brooch at work on a regular basis; the other on the Baker Street Tube-Flash page ‘Josephine & the Detective’ – a representation of the cabaret singer Josephine Baker.