Gold Filigree Jewel of Love
This late 17th or 18th century love jewel has been hand wrought in the Spanish tradition of 17th century gold filigree work with a wire work border. A marvelous three dimensional heart is puffed in the center and remarkably demonstrates the fantastic use of open work gold. At the crest of the heart is a flaming torch symbolic of eternal love complete with original “O” fitting. A top hinged compartment opens to reveal a pair of joined gold hearts. The surface of the chamber is engraved with a cypher or a type of rebus as the letters and symbols on the locket front are unusual. The "L" stops and start again (this appears to be deliberate) and the other letters or symbols are difficult to discern. Rebus designs incorporate pictures or symbols to represent words or parts of words. Sometimes the symbol serves as a substitute for a syllable sound. Here, it seems, the years have tarnished our hope of unlocking that secret.
Spanish jewelry of this time used this wonderful filigree work -- often we think of Spanish galleons and treasure from long ago-- recovered from sunken ships those jewels, buttons, pendants all somehow miraculously woven from gold. Measures 1-11/16 inches long by 1-3/16 inches wide by 3/8 of an inch deep (4.3 cm high by 3 cm wide by 1 cm deep). In exceptional condition with light wear to the locket circle front and reverse; one small indention to the locket back on the gold circle, otherwise fine. Circa 1680-1730. Just spectacular with a silken black ribbon threaded through the original O fitting. Typical of Spanish work of the period but scarce to rare today.