One of the more captivating and evocative adornments of the 18th and 19th centuries is the seal or fob that express a sentiment or thought. These were used to make an impression in wax to securely seal securely a letter or document.
Some are simple or even blank, others are carved with initials or family crests, but others are whimsical, sentimental or downright mysterious in their meaning. Some of the seal portions were glass, others were agates or even amethyst or citrine, a few all gold even for the seal area.
A rebus is a play on words and pictures, the entire meaning must be descried from both. In this fantastic example, the saying is, "May The Wings of Love (or friendship) Never Lose a Feather". The wings of love represented by the carved image of wings, love or friendship by two clasped hands and a feather carved to denote itself.
After all, who wants their wings to shed feathers and lose their loft and ability to fly and soar?
Hand carved into white agate or chalcedony, the image is in reverse to that when pressed into wax, it will read properly.
Most seal fobs are made of metal or gold over metal. It makes sense, these needed to stand up to repeating pressure for stamping. But some, such as these, are solid gold (although they may have a lower core of lead or metal for strength). This is created in 15k yellow gold and is typical of the early 19th century, ornate and larger in size than the typical.
Perfect for wearing on a chain as a pendant for a collector, it may have originally been hung from a chatelaine. Superb and rare.