Stuart Crystal Heart Pendant
Ask the experts about the feel of gold from several hundred years ago and you might hear words of description such as “buttery” or “silken”. Somehow, the lure of gold is not only about hues of shimmering radiance, but of a material so pliable that is can be hammered paper thin or obtain a feel over time as no other. Circa 1740-1770, we have a high carat yellow gold heart pendant. Within its cupped surface, plaited hair rests inside - first a base of straight hair in deeper browns and then a braided mat of dark tawny hair. Set atop this, faceted rock crystal – and only faceted on the edges.
First found from about 1650 onward and used as memorials for Charles I after he was executed, these treasures are often termed "Stuart crystals", for the Stuart period in England. Small mementos and tokens of affections were placed under faceted rock crystal for about the next hundred years. Some ranged from marriage gifts, sentimental remembrances, memento mori and all together quite a range of occasions.
Measures just over 1 inch in length by just under 3/4 of an inch wide and under 1/4 inch deep (2.6 cm by 1.8 cm by .5 cm deep). In wonderful condition with light wear, otherwise very fine. Note the near seamless juncture between the gold where it is rubbed over the rock crystal – a melding of two disparate substances nearly into one.