This brooch is by Vendome. Vendome was a subsidiary of Coro (Fuji Man & Mr & Mrs Squirrel) set up in 1944, taking over from Corocraft. Both Corocraft and Vendome were the high-end divisions of Coro. Vendome was popular during the 1960s when Helen Marion became their principle designer. Following the Second World War, Vendome could import the best crystals from Europe. They were also known for their enamelling work. Sadly, Coro closed down in 1979 depriving jewellery enthusiasts of a wonderful source.
My lion brooch has enamelling around the collar and the main body is made of plastic. The head is gilt metal with a level of detail not often found in costume jewellery. I first spotted this brooch online, but it was rather expensive. I kept thinking about the brooch, and when the dealer put it in at a sale price, I snapped it up before anyone else. I have a few Vendome pieces, but not as many as I would like. They do not come up for sale that often and then mostly in America.
Lions have been used in art and religion for thousands of years. The earliest known depiction of a lion is in the Chauvet Cave in France and dates from between 32,000 and 15,000 years ago. The great sphinx of Giza in Egypt shows the head and shoulders of a human and the body of a lioness dating from about 2500 BC and represents Sekhmet, who was the protector of the pharaohs.
In Babylonia, a kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia, the lion was regarded as a symbol of kingship. The Ishtar Gate led into the inner city of Babylon, it was constructed about 575 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar II. The gate is now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. In 2019 we went to Berlin and one of the highlights was visiting this magnificent structure. The gate is covered in radiant blue tiles and decorated with magical beasts including lions. It was not easy to take a decent picture, too many visitors.