An exquisitely gilded and bejeweled beauty, this reliquary is dedicated to Saint Hilary (St. Hilaire) of Poitiers. This example originates from outside of Paris and dates towards 1880.
The late nineteenth century produced many small reliquaries which honored a specific Saint. They were small enough to hold in your hand, making them devotional objects which could travel or take a small place of honor in a devotional space (which was quite common, with a small font for Holy Water, candles which were lit for prayer concerns and religious texts).
This particular Saint, Hilary of Poitiers, teaches an important life lesson: "instead of being discouraged by your exile, you used your time to study and write. Help us to bring good out of suffering and isolation in our own lives and see adversity as an opportunity to learn about or share our faith".
The front panel is of gilded bronze which has been cast from a very elaborate mold. The form depicts an interlacing crown of thorns. There are four horseshoe shaped accents of bezel set green and ruby glass stones. There are four large clear glass stones which accent the center. The frame of the central window is shaped as an elaborate rosette. The window reveals a manuscript scroll "St. Hilaire", and gilded paper flowers, leaves and scrolls. The back case has the model number "32" stamped at the back. There are two rings for threading a ribbon or chain.
It measures: 3 1/2" x 3" x 1/2" deep. It is in very good antique condition with original patina, no missing stones, no cracks or chips to the glass.
It is one of the prettiest small reliquaries that we have found to date. It is an exquisite part of nineteenth century religious art.
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