Timeless Victorian beauty in Whitby Jet & shell--with tassels. Perfectly partnered with a vintage clip link chain to make a fabulous necklace.
This pendant features a left facing cameo carved from pink Queen conch shell. It offers a depiction of the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus and goddess of women and marriage. Juno was the Roman version of this beloved goddess. The month of June was named in her honor and as the Roman festival in her honor was held during this month, and in her honor sprang the June bride tradition.
The cameo itself measures 15.5mm tall by 11.8mm. It is bezel set in a thick Whitby jet frame from which suspends three dangling spears. The jet bezel comprises the center of this pendant. It measures 22mm tall by 19.3mm wide by 10mm including the cameo. This centerpiece suspends from an intricate wide mouthed bail also carved from Whitby jet. The bail measures 14mm tall by 4.2mm thick and is secured with a steel pin that is accented with a 2.3mm jet pinhead. The bail opening is wide enough to accommodate up to a 5mm (maximum) strand of beads, perhaps a favorite strand of coral, or pearls. The three spear dangles are faceted with the center dangle measuring 20x4.4mm and the side dangles measuring 16x4.2mm. The entire length of the pendant inclusive of bail and dangles is 2-3/8". The pendant itself weighs 3.9 grams.
During the late Victorian Period, black jewelry played a significant role in jewelry, popularized by Queen Victoria in mourning for her dear departed husband, Prince Albert. Considering the date rate at that time, many widows and family members chose to partake in the fine traditions and etiquette of Victorian mourning. Therefore, black quickly became quite proper for mourning jewelry. Black jet just happened to be very accessible to England and Europe, being mined in Whitby, England. Its beautiful properties still make it beloved today for a wide assortment of jewelry and accessories.
We have dated this pendant 1860-1880, during the Grand Victorian period. It is possible that this pendant was originally an earring but we see no former attachment points. It is in excellent condition. The shell cameo carving is crisp, supple and without chips or cracks or wear related smoothing. The jet bezel and bail exhibit no chips or cracks or damage. The steel wire binding the bail is also in good working order. The tips of the two smaller dangles are flat and not completely smooth and pointed. These may be age/use related chips but it is not noticeable with the naked eye unless well studied.
We have strung this pendant on a vintage 12K gold fill paper clip link chain which will be included. This chain measures 2.2mm wide and 15 inches long. It is fitted with a spring clasp. We do not know its exact age but the clasp is hallmarked "1/20 12K", which dates it to after the early 1930's. Despite the age difference, we think these two make wonderful partners.
This pendant necklace will be delivered in a lovely presentation case, perfect for gift giving and storage.
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