Celtic Music - Pyrite Harp & Cross Necklace
Jewelry is transformative; often both the jewel and the wearer are markedly changed from the meeting of the two. When one places this on the neck, it comes alive. As sunlight is captured or as the sun sets and the soft glow illumes, the necklace simply radiates. Marcasites and pyrite became popular in the 1770s and 1780s to replace diamonds as another glittering material to dazzle the eye. Typically it is used in the form of marcasites that have been faceted into small stones. Yet here, pyrite is used in its natural state, shaped and set within heavy brass bezels.
Early costume jewelry has several books dedicated to the subject; one excellent resource is Vivienne Becker's "Fabulous Costume Jewelry". This necklace would be appropriate on any page dedicated to 18th century costume jewelry. So popular in that era, that most of the courts, royals and those "to be watched" wore cut steel, paste and other alternatives to gold and fine gems.
Certainly Irish in origin, the theme is of clover, the harp and the Maltese cross. Measures just less than 18 inches (45 cm) in total length including a 5/8 of an inch (1.6 cm) clasp. Harp measures just over 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) by just over 1 inch (2.7 cm). Cross measures 1-1/8 inches (2.8 cm) by 1-1/8 inches (2.8 cm). A weighty 67.5 grams, naive in construction. In good condition with one section of the harp's pyrite in three pieces rather than one solid piece. Some patina overall, one "O" fitting replaced; general wear; an old solder repair to the clasp insert on the reverse. Superb and one of a kind.
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