This is an regal reliquary with enamel stones, seed pearls and finely executed gilt paperolle work. It is Italian and dates towards 1870.
This type of work was popular during the late 19th century in monasteries across Europe. Each reliquary is highly individual and truly a work of art.
The large center field measures 8" x 6". The work is placed under domed glass. The central focus is a large cross which is set with red-orange enamel beads. Each bead has a beautiful paperolle mount and each is surrounded by a circle of seed pearls. At the bottom of the cross are two elegant paperolle bouquets with exquisite flowers, leaves and tendrils. The flowers are set with tiny seed pearls. The six hand-cut scrolling bands read in manusacript: "Ste. Reliquioe, S. Gerrasi, S. Vincientiani, S. Firminiani, S. Pantiani and S. Liberati".
The frame is of wood and is highly gilded with a beautiful glowing patina. The frame has a lightly incised ring of flowers and leaves at the center curved portion. The edge has a beaded rope embellishment. The back of the frame is covered with paper and tied with wide and narrow ribbon. No seal is present but the ribbons remain unbroken. The frame measures: 12 1/2" x 11": 2" wide to center.
The reliquary is in exceptional condition. The paperolle design is intact, the colors brilliant. At the last red bead the pearl ring is lifting slightly but remains intact. The glass has no cracks or chips. The frame has light wear at the edges in accordance with age and use. The paper in the back has split but is intact and original.
It is an exceptional example.