Antique Victorian Geometric Pique Pendant
Material and configuration set this antique pendant apart from its brethren. It has been beautifully crafted of deep chocolate brown natural tortoiseshell colored with streaks and patterns of chocolate and caramel. Shaped into a domed six-sided hexagon, inlays of gold and silver demarcate each of the bold geometric angles on the front surface. The reverse reveals a round glass covered “locket” which appears to have been designed as only ornamental and not to be opened. The original tortoiseshell bale remains intact.
Condition: Excellent; light even surface wear commensurate with age and use. Contents are not missing, as the locket on the reverse does not appear to have been designed to open.
Measurements: 2-1/6 inches (5 cm) in length including top bale by 1-1/2 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter by 7/8 of an inch (1.1 cm) in depth. This antique pendant has a weight of 7.9 grams.
Date & Origin: Circa 1880 and is English in origin.
Note: For information about piqué, please refer to our Jewelry History section.
Historical Note: The decorative technique of pique was developed in England during the 1700s by the Huguenots. Stigmatized by oppressive laws and facing severe persecution, many of the Protestant Huguenots fled France. In 1681, Charles II of England offered them sanctuary and from 1670 to 1710, between 40,000 and 50,000 Huguenots from all walks of life sought refuge in England. The decorative technique known as pique was developed in England by these very people during the 1700s. By the 1860s the art of pique became the height of fashion of Victorian England.