This is a most exquisite antique French filigree Witch's Heart pendant with superb enamel work. The witch's heart first appeared in the 15th century. It gained popularity in Scotland in the 17th century when it became known as a Luckenbooth, named for the closed booths in Edinburgh where they were sold as tokens to ward off evil spirits and tiny witch's hearts were often pinned to a baby's blanket as protection. By the 18th century, the heart had taken on a slightly different meaning — they were given to a loved one as proof of being 'bewitched'.
Dating from the mid 19th century, the quite large piece has the most intricate overall lace like design demonstrating the skill of a master silversmith. The silver is gilded and has a deep rosy patina. To both sides there is beautiful stylized applied flowers in royal blue, white and burgundy enamel. The heart shape is in the traditional witches heart form and the pendant has a wonderful ornate crown. The enamel work is fresh and vivid with only the tiniest loss to the enamel leaves at the base of the pendant bale. The shape of this indicates it was made to be worn with a wide ribbon, but it would look equally fine with a chain.
There is a makers mark on the top of the bale which I cannot decipher and I can just make out the French boars head silver mark.
I have not tested the silver as I did not want to damage the gilding. The dimensions are impressive : height is 3 3/4 inches; width is 2 inches across the centre of the heart; the rounded convex depth is 1/2 inch. Weight is 30.7 grams.
This extraordinary filigree heart is a true collectors piece and a stunning piece of wearable history.
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