This pendant is extraordinary for several reasons. First of all its size! It is 3" x 2" which is large by any standards!
Second, it is of a very unusual and original configuration. The front of the large 18K gold pendant (acid-tested) has an inner oval covered with beveled glass that contains braided hair.
Clearly this was an early Victorian mourning piece.
The surface is decorated with a complex of machine-engineered designs. The outer edge of the pendant as well as the inner frame around the braidwork is rimmed with a beautifully chased design as is the matching large bail. In addition, the smaller frame for the (very loosely) braided hair has an inner oval of tiny beading that holds in the glass.
The reverse of the pendant is a frame for an image of a lovely young woman. The image is either an ambrotype, tintype, or daguerrotype and is contained under another, much larger piece of bevelled glass.
A very similar piece (in pinchbeck and depicting a man) is shown in the Jeanenne Bell's book, "Collector's Encyclopedia of Hairwork Jewelry" on page 192 and 193. This piece is slightly larger and of precious gold - not pinchbeck. The book identifies the photograph as a tintype. Again, I think the one here is very probably an ambrotype - a bit earlier and more desireable.
It weighs 31.7 gm (more than an ounce!!).
Overall, the condition is excellent but there are 2 pinpoint sized dimples in the gold which you can see if the light catches it just so. The loose hair under the glass is not perfect.
Also, time has worked very hard to establish a patina over the last 150 years and it's not up to us to change it! If you buy it, it's yours to do as you please.
We have priced it with all the things time has imparted to it and still think it's a bargain and hope you see it is too!
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