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Early Jewelry (Pre-18th Century)
Jewelry with circa dates prior to (or around) 1700.
Album by Cathy Gordon. 1 - 185 of 185 Total. 13305 Visits.
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THERE IS AN IMAGE OF THE BESANCON SHROUD ON THE WEBSITE.  I HAVE A SIMILAR ONE IN MY COLLECTION AT THE MUSEUM IN WABASH INDIANA.  I WOULD LIKE TO CONNECT WITH THE OWNER.
RICHARD ORAREO
 - 
RICHARD | MUSEUMOFTHEHOLYSHROUD, Mon, 14 Oct 2013 2:40PM
Hi!
Love this site. Gets better every day. I have a 17th century Agnus Dei rock crystal pendant. Is there a way to value it?
Thanks
 - 
Alison Phalan | Http://www.rubylane.com/shops/Phalan, Thu, 5 Sep 2013 3:02PM
Beautiful! Amazing! Are any pieces for sale? Thank you.
 - 
Susan alspaugh, Mon, 20 Feb 2012 5:09AM
Start SlideshowSelect images and click to download to your computer 
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17th Century Slide - Mortality and Immortality

Incredible gold slide, circa 1640, enameled in black and white, the front with symbols of mortality and reverse with symbols of immortality. The front features symbols of death - a skull and crossbones. an hour glass [tempus fugit] the lamp of the last supper a serpent-entwined staff [death and evil] and 4 instances of a 'double phi' which would have stood for the deceased person's initials, i.e., PP.

The slide measures 2.6 cm by 2 cm [1 and 1/8 inches by 3/4 of an inch]. For similar, see Joan Evans History Of Jewellery Plate 125 [also in the jewelery collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum]. There is some damage to enamel on both sides on this incredibly rare and finely executed memento mori slide.

There is a similar slide in Joyaux Renaissance-Une Splendour Retrouvee published by J. Kugel, plate 131.  This piece has a larger skull and is circa dated 1630.


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To reverse are the initials 'MM' for 'memento mori' and symbols of immortality - a serpent forming a circle of eternity, a flower symbolizing immortality and lover's knots.

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Enamel slide depicting the Shroud of Turin
Circa late 1600s?

Beautifully enameled slide showing the Shroud of Turin.  Leaning on the casket are two angels separated by a monstrance (symbolizes the body of Christ). Slide is 1 1/8" by 7/8"

At some point it was damaged and the crack subsequently stabilized.

Each corner of the slide has a rose-cut diamond set in silver collets.


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Slide turned on its side

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Back of enameled slide

Back of the slide, beautifully enameled in black, pink and white and with large initials in the center  GVL?

The 4 sides of the slide are also enameled in this pattern, as were the slide "handles" which are quite dented and missing much of the enameling.


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Amatory pendent
English
Circa 1650-1680

Rare love token, circa 1650 - 1680, a gold pendant with two enameled love birds within a border inscribed in black enamel script: Love is a comfort.

The pendant is attached to a gem-set cross (emerald, ruby, rock crystal, pearls), enameled in vibrant colors. The pendant is enameled to both obverse and reverse.

A rare early amatory piece with much enamel still intact.


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Pendant in its later fitted case.

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Obverse of pendant, showing remnants of enameling.

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"Love is a Comfort: -- in excellent condition.

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Stuart Crystal pendant - Charles I
Ruled: 1625-1649
Circa 1650-1660

High-carat gold pendant, circa 1650 - 1660, set with a watercolor
portrait on vellum under faceted crystal, a commemorative piece for Charles I.

The monarch is portrayed wearing the blue sash of the Order of the Garter, with a skull on a table by his left shoulder,  symbolizing his death.

Beautiful miniature portrait, the colors still vivid. Measures 3/4 of an inch by 2/3 of an inch.

Charles I was beheaded by his Parliamentarian enemies on 30th January  1649, on a scaffold in front of his Banqueting House in Whitehall.  
 
Charles's supporters saw his death as a kind of martyrdom and used its imagery in the Royalist Cause. Mementos and pieces of jewelery with his image were produced to commemorate the 'Martyr King' and to encourage faith in the cause, whose figurehead was now the young
Charles II.


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Portrait Miniature -- Charles II and Catherine of Braganza
Ruled: 1660-1685 (The Protectorate from 1649-1659)
Circa 1662

Late 17th c enamel portrait of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza, probably on their marriage in 1662. on a pink ground under glazed rock crystal. Charles with lace collar and blue sash of the Order of the Garter, Catherine in a lace mantua, pearl necklace with drop pendant. The reverse, speckled blue and white enamel reads : Rex C ii & Regina C [King Charles II and Queen Catherine]. It comes from the William Lindsay Gordon Collection - he was an avid collector of Stuart memorabilia and this piece last came up for sale at Christie's, London, 19 June 1973, lot 52


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The reverse, speckled blue and white enamel reads : Rex C ii & Regina C  [King Charles II and Queen Catherine].

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Portrait miniature of Charles II
Circa 1660s

Portrait miniature pendant of Charles II, enamel painted on copper, with blue enamel back, set in 18K gold.


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Back of pendant showing blue enamel.

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Portrait miniature of King Charles II
Circa 1660-?

Charles II (29 May 1630 OS – 6 February 1685) became king of England, Scotland and Wales in what is known as The Restoration.  

His father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. He was succeeded by Oliver Cromwell and England entered the period known as the English Commonwealth.  Charles II, following his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, fled England for to the Continent, spending the next 9 years in exile.

A political crisis following the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in Charles being invited to return and assume the thrones. Charles II arrived on English soil on 25 May 1660 and entered London on his 30th birthday, 29 May 1660. After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if Charles had succeeded his father in 1649. Charles was crowned King of England and Ireland at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661.

This faceted rock c...


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Back of pendant with engraved initials.  Cannot tell what the letters are....

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Stuart Crystal -- James II Coronation Slide
Ruled: 1685-1688 (deposed)
Circa 1685

Rare Stuart crystal slide to commemorate the coronation of King James II of England [also James VII of Scotland] on 6th February 1685. James was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. James's belief in absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings, along with his religious policies, made him unpopular and he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution in 1688. James fled to France where he spent the remainder of his life under the protection of his cousin and Catholic ally, Louis XIV. This watercolor on ivory portrait of the monarch, depicts him in full wig, armor and lace jabot, wearing the blue sash of the Order of the Garter. Two cherubs hover above holding aloft a crown. The iconography suggests that the divine right of kings was indeed divine, granted by God. The portrait is set under faceted rock crystal and to a gold slide. It measures o...


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Back of James II Stuart Crystal slide

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Portrait of James II

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Memorial portrait of Queen Mary II
Circa post 1694
Ruled: 1689-1694

Queen Mary II co-ruled with her husband King William III (Prince William of Orange.  She died of smallpox in 1694.

Pendant with portrait of Queen Mary, on left side against black field is a crown, the initials MR and a skull.

3/4" x 1/2" without bale.


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Another view of the portrait.

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Back of the pendant.  Appears to be hammered gold, not wear.

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Agnus Dei Pomander Pendant
Italian
Circa mid 17th century

Rare pomander pendant, Italian, second half of the 17th century. The obverse is painted in vibrant colors, with verre eglomise goldwork; the reverse is set with a rock crystal intaglio.

It depicts the Agnus Dei [Lamb of God] resting on the Book of Revelations.

"The Agnus Dei is a traditional symbol of Christ and was frequently represented in peninsular jewels since at least the 16th century.  
Most of the representations show the lamb in a couchant, or seated, position, a posture that evokes a sense of its innocence, meekness and consequent acceptance of sacrifice. A nimbus atop its head marks its divinity and a foreleg usually supports a cross...." (Renaissance Jewelry in the Alsdorff Collection pg. 41.)

Beneath, in the Sacred Heart, are the letters IHS, for Jesus.

The reverse is set with an intaglio rock crystal backed with pink foil. It depicts Christ on the cross, with atte...


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The reverse is set with an intaglio rock crystal backed with pink foil. It depicts Christ on the cross, with attendant saints.

It opens for a perfumed sponge to be inserted, there are little openings around  the sides for the perfume to escape, [those were smelly times!] and garnet points.


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Gold and enamel crucifix
Spanish
Early 17th century


A Spanish gold crucifix made of triangular sections, champleve enameled green, with an applied gold figure of Christ, skull and crossbones below, Dove of Peace above with INRI above the head of Christ. Length 3"

See a very similar cross in Parke-Bernet Galleries catalog, The Melvin Gutman Jewelry Part VI, December 7, 1971, Lot 60, page 29.


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Back of the cross enameled with the Instruments of Passion (not all identified, but: spear, hammer, scourge).

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Parke-Bernet Galleries catalog, The Melvin Gutman Jewelry Part VI, December 7, 1971, Lot 60, page 29.

Comparison cross in photo on the right.


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Crucifix with Christ
Spanish or Portuguese
17th century

As found in Joyaux Renaissance, Une Splendeur Retrouvee, by J. Kugel, photo 78.

Here is the French:

La croix latine à sections triangulaires est décorée de motifs vert translucides sur fond or.  Le Christ stylisé, proportionnallement très petit, surplombe le crâne d’Adam, sa tête est entourée par une auréole losange gravée et surmontée du titulus.  Le revers est émaillé des instruments stylisés de la Passion. Le bijou possède son étui en maroquin doré aux petits fers.

Cette crois reprend en le stylisant, un prototype de pendentif de la Ranaissance.  Un exemplaire plus fin attaché a un rosaire se trouve à la Hispanic Society of America à New York (cf. P.E. Muller, frontispiece) et trois exemplaires se trouvent au Musee National d’Art Ancien de Lisbonne(cf. L. d’Orey, p, 36 ill. 41/42).

A rough translation from the French:

The Latin cross triangular sections are decorate...


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Enameled chain and pendant
Circa late 17th C

In the same way that houses change over time, this enameled chain and pendant show similar "additions."  
The majority of the gold and enamel chain is late 17th century set with rubies and pearls. The center piece, from which the pendant is suspended was added in the 18th century. The clasp and the two sections two in from the back were  
added in the 19th century. The pearl pendant center is a 17th century slide with enamel reverse which was put into the ruby and diamond surround in the 18th century.
 
Measurements -  the chain is 15 inches long. The 17th century links measure 3/4 by 1/2  
an inch and the 19th century bits measure 1/4 by 1/4 inch. The pendant is 2 and 1/4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. Most of the original enamel is intact and it's a weighty, quality piece.


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18th Century Skeleton / Posy Ring
C. 1700

A rare combination on this mourning ring, circa 1700, of a skeleton and symbols of mortality to exterior and a posy, a motto of love, to interior. This type of ring is known as a skeletal as the whole length of the skeleton is employed around the band, together with other symbols of mortality, a winged hourglass and gravedigger's pick and shovel, The ornamentation echoes that used on black borders printed on the title pages of funeral sermons. The center is set with a colorless crystal. To interior, a touching posy is inscribed in Italic script : God above increase our love [with archaic f for the letter s] and London goldsmith's mark wf, dating it to the first part of the 18th century. The posy is cited in Evans English Posies And Posy Rings.The ring is size M [US 6]. There is a chip on the crystal and traces of the original black enamel remain but this is a rare combination.


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Gold mourning ring with enamel
Dated 1712

A pristine mourning ring with black enamel decoration laid down on 18CT gold. The decoration shows a skull surrounded by floral motifs. The inside of the ring is engraved with "Sr. Wm. Hoskins Ob 13 Aug 1712 aet 83" followed by two hallmarks. Sir William Hoskins was Lord of the Manor of the Manor of Oxted, and owner of several other large properties.


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Skeleton Memento Mori Band
Circa 1720

Rare Memento Mori ring, circa 1720, know as a skeletal, as the whole length of the skeleton is employed on the outside of the hoop, together with other emblems. The earliest noted example is dated 1659. The skeleton on this band is accompanied by a running hound and floral motif. The ring is size L and 1/2 [US 5 and 7/8] and in almost pristine condition.


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Memento mori enameled mourning ring
Circa 1720s-1740s

Superb memento mori gold band, fully enameled with a central skull motif and snakeskin-patterned cross-hatching. Inscription inside the band: Prepare Thee to Die PS


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Memento Mori ring
Dated 1710

Simple gold band inscribed with skull.    Marked C.J. ob. 24 Apr 1710


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Stuart Crystal slide
Circa 1690s

Two cherubs (putti) facing each other, adorned with red sashes and small green and red wings. Each cherub holds aloft in one hand the heraldic symbol of ardent affection — the flaming heart — offering one to the other as they rest upon a bannered motto “Mine for Yours”. Both the saying and the putti are rendered in enamel metal. There are gilt cyphers A and M, all resting on finely woven hair.  There is a gilt edging under the crystal and a sawtoth edge on the outside.  Crystal has rub in center.


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Back of the slide.

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Stuart Crystal slide
Circa 1690s

Aristocratic gentleman painted on vellum, gold over silver, chip on crystal


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Back of slide.

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Stuart Crystal Portrait Pendant
circa 1690s

Stuart crystals were first popularized in 1649, when Charles I, the martyred King of England, was executed under Cromwellian rule. Royalists wishing to show their sympathy for the fallen monarch would wear small slides set with the King's portrait underneath a faceted crystal, or a swatch of hair with the King's initials beneath worked in fine gold wire.

These earliest of "memento mori" jewels created a fashion among the aristocracy for memorial crystals of their own. These crystals were usually fashioned as slides to be strung through a ribbon, but were also made as pendants and earrings. Most Stuart crystals which survive today are of the slide variety.

This 300+ year old heart shaped Stuart Crystal Portrait Pendant has everything.  

The front of the gold heart shaped pendant is topped by a rose diamond bow, which is set in silver, and covered by a multi-faceted rock crystal that reflects light b...


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Back of pendant, "Mon Coeurs Toujours Fidelle" (My Heart is Always Faithful)

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The back of the heart is convex and engraved "Mon Coeur Toujours Fidelle"- roughly translated - "My Heart Always Faithful".

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The best part is when you lift the heart shaped back and see the hand painted portrait miniature under convex crystal.  It appears to be a young man, 25 to 30, wearing a wig and dressed in finery.

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Another picture of the portrait.

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Amuletic Stuart Crystal -- Lord's Prayer
English
Dated 1692

Stuart Crystal slide, dated 1692, with a ground of royal blue enamel, gold wire and plaited hair, overlaid with a miniature version of the Lord's Prayer, written by hand on a tiny disc of paper less than one centimeter in diameter, all set beneath a cabochon rock crystal.

This slide measures 3/4" x 3/4".  There is some loss to the blue enamel and there is a 19th brooch fitting to the back with the original slide fittings removed.


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Detail of the Lord's Prayer

Designed to demonstrate the astonishing skill of the calligrapher, the writing is barely decipherable without the aid of magnification.

Miniature writing samples of this type showed the characteristic 17th century interest in scientific experiment and technical virtuosity.  Masters in the art trained for seven years to develop their calligraphy skills in miniature.  Such pieces held more than curiosity value, as religious inscriptions were often held to protect the owner against misfortune.

A similar example, in a ring, is in Case 20, Religion and Ritual, in the Enlightenment Gallery of the British Museum.  Evidently considered a remarkable piece early in its history, it was acquired by Sir Hans Sloane, whose collections became the foundation of the British Museum in 1753.  It is the only example of this work in the museum.

[Text written by Michele Rowan, rowanandrowan.com]


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Stuart Crystal clasp
1708

Extraordinary Stuart Crystal clasp attached to a ribbon (not original) and used as a bracelet.

The amazing scene depicts a cherub (or putti) on a bench with an anvil.  He rests his elbow on a skull.  The word "Hope" is underneath as well as the initials JC in gold wire thread.  The background is tightly woven hair.


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Back of the clasp.  Marked:

JC dyed 20 June 1708 Aged 31


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Picture of bracelet showing size.

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Stuart Crystal slide -- Queen Mary of England
Circa 1690s

Large gold slide of Queen Mary of England set with her cypher and with a gold crown held by cherubs.   The crystal is surrounded by Scottish pearls.


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Another picture of the Queen Mary crystal.

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Back of the Queen Mary slide -- the Tudor rose in gold.

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Stuart Crystal -- Memento Mori of a Skeleton
Circa 1688?

Large Stuart Crystal brooch set on the diagonal.  A full skeleton is painted in enamel on tightly woven hair.  It holds an hourglass and a bone.  The gold wire cypher appears to be the initials B W and below them it appears to say Oct (or At?) 88.  The crystal is surrounded by Scottish pearls set in gold.


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Unusual back to the skeleton crystal, painted in white enamel with pink and black paisleys, perhaps some initials, though considerably damaged.  This is a style created by Gilles Légaré, a French jeweler and enameler in the 17th century. Pin stem is a later addition.

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Stuart Crystal slide.
Marked 90 (1690)

Woven hair with gold sawtooth bezel under faceted rock crystal.


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Back of slide marked "ob June 9 90"

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Stuart Crystal Memento Mori skull
Circa 1680

English Memento Mori ( Remember you too will die) memorial jewelry slide. High carat gold  containing woven hair on pink silk, an enamel skull and bones, gold wire border and cypher 'A C' set beneath faceted rock crystal.


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Back of skull slide

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Side view of two Stuart Crystal slides showing faceted crystals and sawtooth bezels.

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Stuart Crystal Amatory Slide
Circa 1680s

Rose cut faceted rock crystal enclosing a compartment with a basket-weave panel of hair.  High carat gold with saw-tooth bezel.

The tableau is of Venus, with long golden hair wearing a green wreathed crown and clothed in red and blue, pursuing a golden haired cupid with wings tipped in red and green.  The cupid holds a red enamel heart that he has just stolen from Venus.

The border enamel is green foliage with red hearts.

The red enamel title read Le Vaincrau - the Vanquished.


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Stuart Crystal Amatory Slide
Circa 1680s


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Stuart Crystal Ring
Circa 1680

Exceptional Stuart crystal ring, circa 1680, with rose-cut diamond shoulders and reverse enameling in duck-egg blue. Beneath the central rose-cut crystal two angels hold aloft a heart, with gold wire cipher initials and a weave of hair on a blue ground. The heart symbolism denotes it as a love token rather than memorial. The three stone design was popular in decorative rings of the 17th century but is most unusual combined with a Stuart crystal center. The ring is size J [ 5 US] and in excellent condition.


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Stuart Crystal Betrothal Slide
Circa 1680

Stuart crystal slide, a compartment of faceted rock crystal containing a ground of woven hair, overlaid with two brightly colored cherubs holding aloft a garland of flowers and gold cipher initials EG. The slide is gold with scalloped edges and the typical 17th century saw-toothed setting. The devices on these pretty ornaments symbolized various events in people's lives - in this case the cherubs and garland of flowers denote a betrothal or wedding. The slide measures 2.5 cm by 2 cm [ one inch by 3/4 of an inch]. It is in pristine and amazingly bright condition for its age.


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I have never seen this subject on a Stuart crystal slide before, cannot find the same in any reference books and consider it to be extremely rare. A plump slide, circa 1680, with vivid blue enamel ground, depicts Cupid, having shot his arrow through a lover's heart, above a leaping stag -a visual pun, as Cupid has shot a heart above a hart [male stag]. Below the scene is the motto 'Varreste Love' a corruption of the Latin verb voliere, meaning 'to be worthy', hence the motto is 'worthy of love'. The scene is set under a facteded rock crystal to a border of foiled table-cut garnets and river pearls. The reverse is as exquisite as the obverse, enamelled in a pink, black and white botanical design much favoured in the 17th century. A later gold brooch fitting has been added to the original slide fittings. The whole measures 3 cm by 3 cm [1 and 1/4 inches by 1 and 1/4 inches]. There is slight discolouration on the enamel motto but the piece is in amazingly good ...

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Back of the crystal showing enamel work in the style of Gilles Légaré.

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Stuart Crystal Memento Mori Slide

Stuart crystal slide, circa 1680, a rock crystal compartment containing a lozenge of gummed hair overlaid by a device of two cherubs holding aloft a red enamelled crowned skull,which rests on a coffin. The coffin is inscribed 'mem mori' for Memento Mori. Gold wire intials below. The slide is gold, with reverse fittings terminating in scrolls. Immaculate condition.


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Stuart Crystal slide bracelet
Circa late 1600s

An historically important late 17th century piece of jewelry, a bracelet of Stuart crystal slides recording a family history of betrothals and deaths. The seven gold slides, by the same hand, are gold, decorated with various ciphers and devices under rock crystal, threaded onto black ribbon and set to a gold clasp with skull device. It is rare for a bracelet of this type to have survived intact - most slide bracelets have been separated over the course of centuries.


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Stuart Crystal slide with 2 cupids holding a crown with an elaborate gold cipher, set on woven hair.

Cipher:  HB HB


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Stuart Crystal slide with a gilt cipher set on woven hair in two colors.

Cipher: TW TW


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Stuart Crystal slide with gold thread ciphers set on woven hair in an intricate pattern.

Cipher: TB TB


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Center slide on the bracelet -- 2 cupids holding a heart set on woven hair and surrounded by gold flowers.

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Stuart Crystal slide with gold thread ciphers set on woven hair in two colors.

Cipher: WM


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Stuart Crystal slide with elaborate gold thread ciphers set on woven hair and surrounded by blue enamel and gold-toothed inner fitting.

Cipher: HB HB


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Stuart Crystal slide with an enameled skeleton holding an hourglass and arrow (?).

Cipher: RP


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Stuart Crystal clasp with an enameled skull and looped gold thread surround.  the back of the clasp is engraved with the initials LS.

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Back of Stuart Crystal clasp.

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Stuart Crystal necklace from the Phyllis Phillips Collection auction held by Christie's December 13, 1989. pg 46-47 of catalogue.

Astonishing necklace!  Sure wish this was mine!

Short description:  A fine collection of 19 gold-mounted memorial and love jewels mounted as a necklace, each with a rock cover, ten with jeweled borders, ten with pink, black and white enamel backs, 15 with slide attachments.

Note the central pendant: an unusual locket with two winged angels holding a Royal Crownabove "Aeta s 32' on hair panel; an unusual heart shaped locket with miniature of Mary II, the rose-cut diamond border with emerald and ruby cresting and cabochon drop.


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Stuart Crystal slide
Circa 1670 -1680

Stuart crystal gold slide  - ground of blue enamel, overlaid with plaited hair. A gold cherub wearing an black and white enamel skull mask, carries a skull on a stick towards a burning pyre. The surround is set with garnets and Oriental pearls, the reverse with black, pink and white botanical enameling. The slide measures one inch by just under one inch. The blue enamel ground is fine and there is only slight loss of color to the enamel figures, botanical enameling is practically perfect.
This subject has not been covered in any reference book as far as we can tell.


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Back of slide with botanical enameling in the style of Gilles Légaré.

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Stella Maris Memnto Mori

Unusual memento mori pendant for lives lost at sea - a watercolor miniature on parchment, under crystal and set to a gold pendant, circa 1720. The miniature is of Stella Maris, protectress of mariners and seafarers. She is portrayed in her lapis blue robe covered in golden stars and wearing a golden starburst crown. The skull, urn and crucifix in the scene symbolize souls lost at sea. The pendant measures 3 cm by 3.8 cm [ 1 and 1/4 inches by 1 and 1/3 inches] and is in excellent condition. A finely executed and unusual mourning miniature.

Stella Maris is an aspect of the Christian Virgin Mary as spiritual guide. She is called Mary, Star of the Sea, and protects those who make their living on the oceans such as mariners and seafarers. She is shown on a lunar crescent wearing a starry crown, Her typical iconography, which likely references Revelations 12:1 of the Bible, which describes "a woman... with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garl...


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Bird pendant, pearl and diamonds
Circa 1700

Wonderful bird pendant composed of a large (19mm) natural pearl with gold base and silver and gold wings, head.  Wings are set with rose-cut diamonds.


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Side of bird pendant.

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Side of bird pendant.

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Double-sided pendant
Painted on vellum

Sir Rob Williams Baronet Born 3d May 1716

Lovely hand-painted work including flowers and two cherubs.  George I was King of England.

1 1/2" x 1 1/8" not including bale.


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Reverse of pendant

Sir Rob. Williams Baronet Ob the 11th November 1745

Symbols of death -- skull and bones, casket, shroud, with hair.

During 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stewart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was attempting to seize the English throne -- perhaps Rob Williams was involved in the fighting?


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Roman silver ring
Circa 400 AD


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Gold earrings with garnets
Greco-Roman
Circa 400-300 B.C.


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Terrible side picture -- gold is too shiny!  

You can see the ear wire -- they are twisted shut so once these were in the ear, they weren't easy to remove....


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Gold Maenad head earrings
Greek
Circa 400-300 B.C.

Splendid, large gold earrings with three ascending hollow gold beads separated by double-rows of tiny gold granules terminating in conical collar with granular decoration from which emerges the hollow gold head of a maenad wearing double ivy wreath in her finely detailed hair which is centrally parted and drawn into a chignon at the back, with two long curls framing her face.  The earring hoops are a combination of twisted wire leading to smooth wire with the end of the hoop passing into a loop at the back of the maenad's head.


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Gold bull's head earrings
Greek
Circa 400-300 B.C.


Greek gold bull's-head earrings,  each with a hoop of tapering twisted wire that hooks through a loop on the underside of the head, the heads emerging from ornamented collars with fine detailing.  The heads are rather smooshed....


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Tiny gold lion-head earrings
Greco-Roman
Circa 400-300 B.C.

Each with a tapering hoop of spiral-twisted plain wires which hook through a loop in the lion's mouth, terminating at a lion head, the eyes and mouth open through to the interior.  These are approximately 1/2" in diameter, perhaps made for a child.


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Agate ring --cameo of Medusa
Ancient, probably Byzantine mounting. Ring shank is new.


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Memento Mori Pendant
Circa 1680

Rare Memento Mori pendant circa 1680, depicting on the obverse a heart being pressed by a vice and a forget-me-not and inscribed to reverse Virtutis patentia nata [patience is born of courage]. Attached to the base of the pendant is an enamelled skull and natural pearl drop. The pendant measures 1 and 1/3 inches by half an inch. A most symbolic memento mori piece.


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Rare Memento Mori pendant circa 1680, inscribed to reverse Virtutis patentia nata [patience is born of courage].

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For example only. Early Phillipine crucifix from a private collection.

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For example only. Early Phillipine crucifix from a private collection.

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For example only. Early Phillipine crucifix from a private collection.

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For example only. Early Phillipine crucifix from a private collection.

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Gold, enamel and ruby pendant
Spanish
Circa 1650


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Showing correct pearl dangle

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Portrait of a Young Lady
Paulus Moreelse (Dutch, 1571-1638)
Circa 1620

Oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago, Max and Leola Epstein Collection


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Portrait miniature of young noblewoman
European (Spanish?)
Circa 1560

Early portrait of young noblewoman, potentially either a betrothal portrait or a "shopping" portrait.  Rare oil on silver with a later gold backing.  Set in later period gold frame (mid-1600s) inset with pearls.


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Back of pendant showing later gold backing.

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Rock Crystal Pendant
Spanish or Italian
Circa 1650

A rock crystal pendant, Spanish or Italian, second half of the 17th century. The deeply carved rock crystal is richly decorated with enamel and gold detail. On this side, under a cabochon rock crystal cover, is a compartment containing a colorful enamelled flower.  On the other side is an enamel relief of a flower above a flaming heart on a ground of gold or copper.  

It is interesting that the symbols are amatory rather than religious.

The pendant measures 2 and 1/8 inches in length and is 1 and 1/8 inches wide. It has survived in remarkably good condition.

For similar 17th century rock crystal pendants see Victoria and Albert Jewellery Collection and the Kugel catalogue, Joyeaux Renaissance.


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On this side is an enamel relief of a flower above a flaming heart on a ground of gold or copper

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Amuletic "Toadstone" Ring
15th Century

A 15th century high-carat gold amuletic ring set with a fossilized 'toadstone'.

From the 14th century rings were set with 'toadstones' for their magical and protective qualities. According to folklore the toadstone had to be taken from an old toad that was still alive. This could be done by placing the toad on a piece of red cloth that would cause it to cast out its stone.

There are a number of examples of toadstone rings in the British Musem, some contain fossilized ray-finned fish teeth and some contain fossilized agates, this example is most probably an agate.

The ring is size M [US 6] and the front measures 1/2 an inch by 1/3 of an inch. A rare 15th century amuletic ring in amazingly fine condition.


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Side view of the toadstone ring

For the toadstones made from fossilized fish teeth, they are called Bufonite.

BUFONITE, literally, toad-stone; a name given to the fossil teeth and palatal bones of fishes belonging to the family of Pycnodonts (thick teeth), whose remains occur abundantly in the Oolitic and Chalk formations.

The term bufonite, like those of serpents' eyes, batrachites and crapaudines, by which they are also known, refers to the vulgar notion that those organisms were originally formed in the heads of serpents, frogs and toads.


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Back view of the toadstone ring.

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Eomesodon trigonus Tooth
Jurassic
UK

This gorgeous yet unusual pychnodont tooth looks like a shiney pearl. It has wonderful shiney enamel with wonderful jet black colouration, being 8mm across. It is Middle Jurassic age circa 164 million years old and comes from the Great Oolite, Bathonian Stage of Oxfordshire, UK.


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Eomesodon trigonus Tooth
Cretaceous
UK

This gorgeous large tooth is from a pychnodont fish. It measures 9mm across, has wonderful shiny enamel with wonderful dark tan colouration. It is Cretaceous age circa 100 million years old and comes from the Lower Greensand, Albian Stage of Hardwick, Oxfordshire, UK.


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Hadrodus headetti Pycnodont Jaw Cretaceous
U.S.

This very rare large lower right jaw is from an extinct mesozoic pycnodont fish. It is quite lovely and of museum quality. It has great detail with super enamelled teeth, being 37mm in length. It is Upper Cretaceous age circa 80 million years old and comes from the Mooreville Chalk of Green County, Alabama, USA.


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A "toadstone"

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Double-sided portrait locket
English
Circa 1694-early 1700s

A double-sided locket with portrait miniatures of William III (1650-1702) and Mary II (1662-1694). William, wearing a suit of armor, blue sash, white lace cravat, long black wig, his crown on a red cushion to the right.  Mary wearing a red dress, ermine mantle, her dark hair curled, with a skull on a covered table to the left (indicating death).  Portrait are watercolor on vellum, set in a gilt metal locket with garnet border. Locket is too large for the portraits, but is an early piece.


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Restored by Carol Aiken

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Double-sided portrait locket
English
Circa 1694-early 1700s

A double-sided locket with portrait miniatures of William III (1650-1702) and Mary II (1662-1694). Mary wearing a red dress, ermine mantle, her dark hair curled, with a skull on a covered table to the left (indicating death).


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Restored by Carol Aiken

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Unrestored - out of frame

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Unrestored - out of frame

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Silver Pilgrim Badge
English
Circa 15th century

These were purchased at sites of pilgrimage such as Canterbury and worn on a hat. This can be worn as a pendant. On one side is the IHS inscription for Jesus and on the other M for Mary. The edges are beaded. Most pilgrim badges were base metal, this was for a better class of pilgrim! It is a bit squished on one side but that's fine as most survivors are often fragments. It is 2/3 of an inch long and just over 1/2 an inch wide. There are similar on the British Museum site.


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Portrait miniature of gentleman in armor
Circa 1700s?

Portrait miniature on vellum of a gentleman in armor set in silver frame.  From the school of Samuel Cooper.


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Pilgrim Badge Pendant
English
Circa 15th Century

A silver fragment from a late 15th century pilgrim badge, later set to a high carat gold pendant mount. Medieval society was religious to an extent that is difficult for many of us to comprehend today and its depth of religious belief was manifested in the cult of the pilgrimage. Pilgrims travelled across the known world to visit the shrines of saints, seeking absolution of sin or miraculous cures for illnesses. To the medieval mind, the miraculous power of a shrine or relic could be transferred to anything that came into contact with it, giving rise the the first mass produced tourist souvenir, the pilgrim badge. Badges varied greatly in quality, some were crudely made while others were finely crafted.

This badge is of superior quality, silver rather than base metal and beautifully inscribed with a fragment of a Latin antiphon and prayer based on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which translates in full as:...


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Pilgrim Badge Pendant
English
Circa 15th Century

Back side of fragment.


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Charles 1st Gold Touch-piece (obverse)
English
Circa 1625-1649

Persons of royal blood were believed to have God-given powers of healing by touch, and the sovereigns of England, from the reign of Edward the Confessor to that of Queen Anne, used their 'powers' to cure sufferers of scrofula or Swine evil, a form of tuberculosis commonly known as 'King's Evil'. Gold 'Angel' coins were officially pierced to be used as touch pieces and were hung from ribbon or silk string. Charles 1st issued Angels almost exclusively as touch pieces, making intact specimens rare. The cure involved the laying on of hands by the monarch and the Angel coin was given to sufferers a receipt or talisman of the monarch's healing power. This particular coin was favoured as its obverse depicts St Michael slaying the devil, represented as a dragon.

The royalist John Evelyn described a 'touching' ceremony in a diary entry in 1660: His Majesty began first to to...


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Charles 1st Gold Touch-piece (reverse)
English
Circa 1625-1649


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Silver reliquary pendant
English
Circa 1650

An opening reliquary with the sacred monogram IHS and a cross on the front and AM for Ave Maria or Hail Mary on the reverse. It opens to reveal a compartment with a [purported] golden fragment of Mary's gown.

This pendant measures 1.5 inches in length including suspension loop, 1 inch in length excluding loop and it's 3/4 of an inch wide.


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Silver reliquary pendant
English
Circa 1650


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Silver reliquary pendant
English
Circa 1650

An opening reliquary with AM for Ave Maria or Hail Mary on the reverse.


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Silver reliquary pendant
English
Circa 1650

The compartment with a [purported] golden fragment of Mary's gown.


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Gold Death's Head Ring
English
Circa Tudor period - 1550-1600

An exceptionally rare Tudor memento mori ring, circa 1550 -1600. Such rings were a timely reminder of the importance of spiritual preparation for death and one is listed in Henry VIII's inventory : A ring of golde with a deathes hedde. This high carat gold ring has a hexagonal bezel with central skull, around which is inscribed the name of the deceased, Iames [James] Porlace. The ring is decorated with volutes and foliate shoulders. It is in remarkably good condition, with traces of original enamel intact. For similar, see Plate 37 in Scarisbrick's Tudor and Jacobean Jewellery and other examples are in the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum jewellery collections.


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Ethiopian silver cross
Early

All of these crosses and pendants are made from Maria Theresa "trade dollars" from Austria called thalers.  They were first made in 1471.  Starting in 1480 they were struck for trade and continued over many years, to still have that same date on them.  They have a silver content of .833.  They have been very popular in Africa, often melted down to make various items, but sometimes cut into crosses or made into pendants by adding a hanging loop.


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Ethiopian silver cross
Early


 
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