Amulets have their mystical roots deep in history and only until modern times have these long-worn objects been largely forsaken.
Particularly during the medieval years onward, amulet pendants were worn for numerous purposes including warding off evil, curing sickness, and protecting the wearer.
Often, they held sacred objects, such as relics of saints or other revered mementos. Unguents or other aromatics were both powerful protection from evil as well as practical, given the sanitary conditions of the distant past.
This is a remarkable survivor, an amulet or pomander dating to the mid to later 17th century. Fire gilded silver combines with variegated brick red and whitish agate of an intriguing variety.
The agate is exceptional for its mix of opaque as well as translucent areas and particularly for one area which, when held up to the light, reveals an oval "eye” shaped golden area. Certainly, this was chosen for its ability to protect and watch over the bearer.
Highly polished in cabochon pear shapes, they are set amidst the most remarkable metal work. Entirely handmade, the collet is intricate with minute undulating blades of gilt silver in clumps of three with incised vertical lines running along the band.
The perimeters are punctuated by lines of silver gilt chain work between each half of the amulet. The hinge is five-part with the top clasp expertly detailed.
Powerful and majestic, the entire piece is tactile to hold and stroke. The amulet opens and inside is revealed two chambers. Each half has two circles carved into the stone as depressions to hold relics or possibly even herbs, unguents, or aromatic resins.
The sides are divided and held distinct by one flat gilt silver panel. This closes with a pin and hole mechanism. This pendant still retains its original O top fitting as well as a later large fitting.