This beautiful and delicately carved heirloom Chinese gaming counter has found a new life as the centerpiece of a stunning and elegant necklace of Lavender Moon Quartz and cultured freshwater baroque pearls. The ethereal faceted oval Lavender Moonstone Quartz gemstones, with their shimmering aldurescent properties, alternate with creamy cultured freshwater baroque pearls featuring hand-coiled loops. Safely suspended in a twist wire frame of 14k gold, this unique hand-engraved Mother-of-Pearl pendant is just as beautiful on the opposing side, featuring the same heraldic lion’s head monogram (FHM) on the reverse.
During the earlier eras, wealthy European families commissioned Chinese artisans to make finely engraved sets of mother-of-pearl gaming counters for use in parlor games such as Ombre, Quadrille, Loo and Whist. Starting with simple Chinese designs of flowers and birds, the engravings became more complex with time, often using family crests, monograms, or even coats-of-arms of royal European families. Even the wife of George III, Queen Charlotte, had her own set of counters and it is rumored that King George had to confiscate them as she habitually lost so much money! This commerce continued until the mid 19th century, when the games fell from fashion.
The shells were ground flat, shaped, polished and engraved - all nearly 300 years ago, and all by hand! The particular large mollusk that provided these large flat shells was hunted to extinction to supply this trade.
Other monograms and/or shapes are available - please send a message to inquire.
19.75 inches long / 2.49 X .93 inches pendant.