Here is an EXCEPTIONAL PIECE of RARE FRENCH RELIGIOUS HISTORY dating from the 1800,s. It is a STUNNING and LARGE ANTIQUE FRENCH NUN,S ENGRAVED HEART EX VOTO LOCKET. This HEART was made by a VERY TALENTED ENGLISH SILVERSMITH for the FRENCH NUN ORDER the ( SISTERS of the GOOD SHEPHERD ) CONVENT. This is an Original Antique French Nun Locket dating to around 1880-1890, not a Reproduction! This EX VOTO is a LOVELY EXAMPLE of REPOUSSE work. REPOUSSE is a FRENCH TERM which refers to a SHAPED or ORNAMENTAL PIECE, usually an ITEM made of METAL, with PATTERNS of RELIEF being HAMMERED or PRESSED into on the REVERSE SIDE of the ITEM. The HISTORY of this BEAUTIFUL HEART is that the ORDER of the GOOD SHEPHERD was founded in FRANCE in 1835. Each SISTER was given a HEART LOCKET to wear around Her Neck. The DESIGN of the LOCKET was SPECIFIC to the ORDER. While I have seen a few of these available for sale this HEART LOCKET has 3 UNIQUE FEATURES that the other 3 HEARTS I saw for sale DID NOT. This shows me that there was some PERSONAL CUSTOMIZING DONE to each one of these NUNS HEARTS. Perhaps the HEART was personalized for each SISTER and given as a GIFT by there FAMILIES as they went into the CONVENT. The 1st UNUSUAL DETAIL is that this HEART has a LOVELY ENGRAVING done on the Flat Back of this HEART. It is Engraved ( VIVE JESUS ET MARIE ) in FRENCH which translated to ENGLISH is " LONG LIVE JESUS and MARY ". And below this Engraving is an Engraved LILY DESIGN signifying the Virtues of Charity and Purity. The 2nd DETAIL is that the HEART also has an interesting CLOSING MECHANISM that I have not seen in other similar NUN,S HEARTS of this ORDER. This HEART has a PIN SCREW on the Right Hand Bottom Side of the HEART. To OPEN the LOCKET the PIN UNSCREWS and to LOCK simply SCREW PIN in tightly, very UNIQUE DETAIL. You can see the PIN LAYING on the Silver Tray in Front of the OPEN LOCKET. What a UNIQUE CLOSING MECHANISM! The 3rd DETAIL is that the HEART LOCKET is a RELIQUARY LOCKET with a Walled Well in the Inside Bottom of the HEART with the other HEARTS I saw not having this WELL. This WELL was made to put a PRECIOUS RELIC inside of. I have put a Vintage Sterling Silver Rhinestone Cross in the Well but if the buyer would like they can simply pop this out and put there own RELIC TREASURE INSIDE. The LOCKET is a Large Size measuring 2,1/2 inches high by 1,2/8 inch wide by /4 inch deep. This is as well a Weighty Locket weighing 54 GRAMS. The BEAUTIFUL raised REPOUSSE DESIGN has a POINTELLE BACKGROUND with the VIRGIN holding the INFANT JESUS in HER ARMS. They are surrounded by LILIES and ROSES and a FRENCH BOW is at the VIRGINS FEET. The HEART represents the SISTER, consecrated to the DIVINE SON, the LILIES represent Virtues of CHARITY and PURITY. The LOCKET has a LARGE HINGED BAIL which shows this is a VERY WELL MADE SILVER LOCKET, an Heirloom Treasure to be handed down. There are English Hallmarks on the LOCKET, the 925 Silver Guarantee the LION MARK, a DIAMOND MARK Export Stamp at the Top on the BAIL. This MARK was put on ENGLISH made PIECES to be Exported out of ENGLAND, this Piece going to FRANCE. I offer GENEROUS LAYAWAY TERMS to my buyers. This is TRULY a RARE LOCKET that you will LOVE and TREASURE. I think this would make a LOVELY ADDITION to your COLLECTION of RELIGIOUS JEWELRY, a FRENCH HEIRLOOM to hand down to a LOVED FAMILY MEMBER! Thanks for visiting FRENCHEVANGELINEROSE on RUBY LANE! NOTE: A Custom Necklace can be made for this Locket for an additional charge.
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