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Magnificent & Rare: Symbolic Paste Cross Pendant

Item 11409

Suffused with symbolism and grandeur, this matchless cross is the simple Latin cross or “Crux Ordinaria” adorned with a representation of the Sun emanating twelve rays of light. The addition of the flashing light of a glorious sunrise transforms this cross into the Cross Rayonny or “Glory Cross” which symbolizes Christ in the light of his resurrection. Surmounting both Cross and Sun is a crown, traditionally signifying the royal authority of Christ.

The center of the pendant cross is a miniature painting on rock crystal. Painted using the process of “verre eglomise”, in which the reverse of the crystal is gilded with gold or metal leaf using a gelatin adhesive that results in a mirror-like reflective finish onto which the image is then reverse painted. Steeped in iconography, a female pelican is depicted plucking at her breast with wings spread apart as her young nest beneath her. Known for centuries as a sign of devotion to family, legend has it that in times of famine a mother pelican will peck at her own breast to feed her young with her life’s blood which ultimately results in her own death.

In addition, the pelican was seen as a living representation of Christ and has been interpreted as a Christian emblem of Christ’s devotion by shedding his own blood and dying for the sins of man. Above the pelican is a tiny cross and a rose, a privileged symbol for Mary, mother of Jesus. The rose is tinted pink symbolizing rebirth or resurrection. On the reverse the painting is covered in mother-of-pearl. This could easily be a cross from Rosicrucian Brotherhood, an ancient order whose origins are shrouded in mystery.

More than sixty (60) large hand-cut round and square pastes encrust this emotionally charged silver pendant.

Hallmarks: Unidentified hallmark on the top "O" fitting.

Condition: Very good; one tiny paste replaced.

Measurements: 3-5/8 inches (9 cm) in length including top “O” fitting and 3-5/16 inches (8.4 cm) without by 2-1/2 inches (5.7 cm) in width. Weight of 26 grams (16.7 dwt).

Date & Origin: Earlier 19th century and is Continental in origin.