Dating to the middle of the 17th-century, this beautiful devotional pendant is a wearable Spanish Colonial treasure with an intriguing history!
Measuring 2 1/8" long with its original bail x 1 1/4" wide, this silver pendant is Spanish or Spanish Colonial in origin, and features the Virgin Mary holding the Chalice of the Holy Grail! The representation of the Virgin Mary holding a chalice was first found in the Pyrenees mountains of Spain during the 14th century, and continued as a popular devotional motif in the Spanish colonies through the 18th century. In this example, Mary is dressed in 16th-century style, crowned and haloed. She faces forward, standing on a plinth and holding the grail in her hands. Below the plinth we find a rose, and the whole of the figure is framed in a wreath of lilies. SO INSPIRING!
This jewel is completely hand-cast, and is in all-original, intact condition after well over 350 years! One can see the original tool marks on the back of the pendant; I strongly believe that this jewel was donated to the church after the passing of its original owner, as it shows little smoothing and which I associate with devotional medals of this great age. Perhaps most intriguing is the inscription to the reverse of the pendant; it reads "LEAR" with a cross incised above! This is hand-engraved into the silver in a font associated with early 17th-century inscriptions.
As the name "Lear" is British in origin, I surmise that a lady or gentleman of the Roman church likely became a missionary in Colonial Spain, and was given this pendant upon his or her re-location. The 17th-century was one of persecution for British Roman Catholics, and many emigrated to Southern Europe. This jewel must have meant a great deal to its owner, and has come down into the 21st century in a pristine state of conservation. It has not been cleaned, and retains the rich surface patina that collectors treasure!
Simply a rarity among early devotional jewels, this pendant is just as wearable today as when it was made, and looks splendid on a medium-length silver chain. It weighs 10.43 grams, and is unmarked, but tests to sterling silver. Suitable for wear by a lady or a gentleman, this early Church jewel will make a stellar addition to any collection of devotional jewelry, or an extra-special Christmas gift for any member of the Catholic faith, and will be shipped in a gift box suitable for giving or storing. Do not miss this beautiful and highly historic pendant; it is priced for quick sale, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
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