Antique English Quizzing Glass Pendant
Popular for both men and women from the 18th century onward, quizzers or quizzing glasses were named as such because they “quizzed” or studied a subject. A quizzing glass or quizzer is a single optical lens on a handle. Almost always set with a magnifying lens, some were set with a corrective lens since haute ladies and gentleman did not like to wear spectacles in public. Although it can be difficult to differentiate between a magnifying quizzer and a magnifying glass, it is the position in which the instrument is held in relation to the object being viewed that demonstrates the difference. A magnifier is held close to the object whereas the quizzer is placed closer to the face. It was the mid-18th century that they developed into a fashionable accessory, designed and worn as a piece of jewelry.
Ornately decorated with motifs characteristic of the Georgian era, this example of the quizzer is crafted of gold over metal. Composed of three elements—the optical lens, swivel and handle—women typically wore them on a long gold chain around the neck; men used a black ribbon although at times gold chains were also employed. The handle or loop is swivel-mounted to make it easier to lay flat when hung from a chain. Perfect today as object of adornment and function.
Condition: Very good; light wear commensurate with age and use.
Measurements: 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length by 1-9/16 inches (4 cm) in width. This antique has a weight of 14.3 grams (9.2 dwt).
Date & Origin: Circa 1820 – 1830 and is English in origin.
Historical Notes: Beau Brummell, that renowned arbiter elegantiarum of male couture has been associated with the popularization of the quizzing glass. Reputed to peer through the glass as though inspecting people and objects of interest while implying a sense of effete superiority.
Overall Scale: Large.