This magnificent star-shaped brooch, known in Baba Malay as a ‘bintang’, is set with a total of 93 round brilliant cut diamonds. The central element of nine stones can be unscrewed and removed. This suggests that it could be worn separately as a button, cuff link or even an earring. It is also possible that this brooch was part of a set of ‘kerosang’-style brooches, used as fasteners on blouses. The cut of the diamonds dates this piece to the period when modern, highly faceted diamond cutting began to be developed. The round brilliant cut was designed to maximise both the brilliance and fire of a diamond. Diamond cuts such as the rose cut disappeared abruptly soon after the brilliant cut’s introduction, no doubt because the Nonya enthusiastically embraced the much flashier new style.

Early 20th century
Straits Settlements
Object size: H:6 x W:6 x D:1cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum