A rare late Georgian era bracelet carved from Mediterranean coral, also known as noble coral. Fine coral items have been created since the days of ancient Egypt. Items of this type were carved in Naples beginning in the early 1800s. Coral has long been considered a gemstone of protection and since the 15th and 16th centuries was given to children to wear to ward off illness. Numerous paintings and portrait miniatures of the era depict children wearing coral jewelry.
Coral charms and fetishes became popular with European Grand Tour travelers in Italy, and by far the finest examples are those that were created beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries. Here a carved hand grasps a gold ring with fetishes of a carved head, a quiver of arrows, a hat, a spiral, a two-headed bird (?), and what looks to be a teapot. The hand is set in gold (15k) and decorated with a gold and turquoise "stone" (appears to be enamel) bracelet. The wrist of the hand terminates in a cornucopia of pomegranates, a symbol of abundance and fertility across all the major religions, going as far back as ancient Greece and Egypt.
The bracelet is made up of individually carved and interlocking coral beads, typical of the Georgian period. Wonderful old pre-Victorian coral, especially of this natural orange-red color, has become more and more difficult to find and hence increasingly valuable.
The bracelet measures 7 ½" long and weighs 24 grams. Two of the "fruits" may be replacements. Small losses of one finger and the tip of the spiral fetish. Coral is by nature a brittle and fragile material. Care should always be taken when wearing or handling coral jewelry.
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