Enigmatic Stuart Crystal Heart with Date
Inscriptions are a blessing to the history of jewelry. Rarely do we have the fortune to know a piece of jewelry - its true history, who wore it, who owned it, who made it, what families touched it, how it touched lives, how it was treasured and coveted. Yet an inscription places it to some degree in our minds as it gives us a hint as to its true original intent.
In this case, we have a Stuart crystal heart with its corresponding inscription. It reads, “S.W.F. Bau obit 27 Nov 97 Etas 62” along with the perfect memento mori symbol, a skull – all engraved on the reverse. Meaning this is a sentimental heart in honor of a person with the initials and name as stated, who passed away the 27th of November of 1697 and at the age 62.
English in origin, Stuart crystals began after the beheading of Charles I in 1649. This one is in as good a condition as one could hope for. The front reveals a tiny mat of woven hair atop which sits gold wire in the initials of the deceased, as well as a surround of curled gold. The rock crystal itself is hyper faceted - every inch a surface to refract light. It is set in a typical 17th century mount with saw toothed bezeled edge. The back is slightly convex and deeply engraved with the lost loved ones information. Certainly a poetic and timeless tribute to love and loss. Quite rare, hearts are one of the more desirable forms for memento mori and certainly its condition says it all. A pleasure to find and a pleasure to pass along to the next caretaker.
Measures ¾ of an inch tall by 9/16 inches wide (1.8 cm by 1.5 cm). There is a later “O” fitting 7/16 inches in diameter (1 cm).