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Study in Black & White: Very Rare 17 C. Pearl Pendant


The naturalistic floral form of ornamentation continued into the 17th century. One need only think of tulip mania in the earlier part of the century to find sources for this inspiration.

Here leaves of typical white enamel dotted with touches of black enamel are set upon a pendant lattice work foundation of 22 yellow gold. Characteristic for the period, “pie crust” shaped gold domes encase two diamonds, two rock crystals, two white topaz and one white sapphire in a mix of four table cuts and three naïve rose cuts. The amalgam of both the stones and types of cuts is not uncommon for the time. However, some appear to have been replaced.

A baroque framework of gold swirls surround the perimeter of the pendant as five (5) natural baroque pearls (untested) drape as fringe along the bottom edge of the pendant. Later late top “O” fitting, wire holding pearls and those “O” fittings are of 18k yellow gold.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: 2-1/8 inches (5.3 cm) in length by 1-1/8 inches (2.8 cm) in width. Weight of 8.9 grams (5.7 dwt).

Condition: Good to very good for its age; most enamel intact but worn in a few spots; bottom right side has one small area of missing gold; top "O" fitting is modern; "O" fittings and fitting holding pearls are later additions and the "O" fittings have been soldered closed for security; 4 stones possibly re-set and/or replaced.

Date: Circa 1680

Historical Notes: Tulip mania swept across Europe after this remarkable flower was introduced to the region. So strong was the desire for the flower, that economically as well as culturally, the tulip's influence was far reaching, particularly in the 1630's in Northern Europe. Designs in enamels continued on for decades with organic abstract forms with naturalistic curves.

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