A very fine and rare Georgian era gold pendant in the shape of a hand holding a small gold ball. The wrist is decorated with a gem-set bracelet of a very small ruby and two tiny emeralds. The forefinger wears a ring set with another tiny emerald. The hand terminates at a wide cuff decorated with red and green gold flowers and shell, workmanship that is emblematic of the late Georgian period. The delicate tapered fingers are expertly rendered. More often this type of piece was made into clasps that are smaller than this, its size, style and weight make it rare. The iconography of a hand holding a ball goes back to ancient times, when Jupiter was portrayed holding an orb in his hand, representing the world and his dominion over it. In Christian iconography Bishops hold a globus cruciger, or an orb topped with a cross representing Christ’s dominion over the world. Though probably not a mainstream idea in the Georgian era, this hand’s gesture is similar to the gesture of knowledge by the Buddha, with the thumb and forefinger meeting and the palm held against and facing the chest. It’s fascinating how gestures replicate themselves across cultures, and this piece remains enigmatic. I have not been able to find another that is remotely the same. No doubt this piece had special meaning for someone.
The front of the pendant is in excellent condition, the back shows a loss of a piece just beneath the bale, though what that piece may have been is a mystery. Possibly a hook to latch on to something or a clasp, it also was likely the location of the identifying hallmark. The workmanship is almost certainly French, dating to the early years of the 19th century.
Hallmarks a French guaranty mark for 18k gold items.
Weight 9.4 grams
Dimensions 30mm x 22mm x 10mm