For your consideration is this beautiful Catholic glass and silver filigree rosary from Bavaria (southern Germany). This exquisite religious devotional, which was crafted before 1884, is complete and in excellent antique condition. It appears to have been cleaned and recently restrung making it sturdy enough for active prayer, especially given its manageable size.
The silver filigree components are simply wonderful. This style originated in Germany and Bavaria in the 17th and 18th centuries. Mass production began in the late 1700s, centered in Schwäbisch Gmünd in upper Bavaria. Although early works were handcrafted by families in the area, machine manufacture of the components was eventually introduced to meet the demand for filigree.
At the end of the rosary is a large silver filigree crucifix with beautiful cobalt blue ceramic inserts front and back. The integrity of this crucifix is exceptional in that there are no dents or missing filigree, and no separation between the two sections of filigree. The two enamel inserts are also in excellent condition. Although there are chips in the decorative enamel surface, there are no cracks in the ceramic that affect the integrity of the insert.
The front depicts Jesus with a pale yellow nimbus and red drape, outlined in red against the cobalt background. Christ's abdomen is chipped and there are a few missing prongs, but those present are fully functional and hold the insert firmly in place. The back has a radiant Sacred Heart at the center and some fun yellow accents along the bottom of the cross. There is a chip at the center and the prongs are in the same condition as the front. A sweet ex voto is attached at the bottom bearing a small daisy-like flower.
The soldered ring connecting the crucifix to the string has two distinct hallmarks: "12" and "G." The twelve is a "lot" number or assay mark indicating 750 silver. The lot system was divided into 16 parts, with 16/16 being pure silver and 12 lot indicating 750 silver. In 1884, Germany and Prussia adopted 800 silver as the standard, dating this crucifix accordingly. The "G" could be a city mark or maker's mark. The city mark was abolished in 1886 and by 1888, it was compulsory to use a crescent moon and crown to represent the entire German state.
The smaller credo cross at the center features fine filigree and continues the floral motif with the bead at its center and petal-like protrusions on the front panel. Use of the credo cross originated in the Council of Trent (1543–1563). Placed between the larger cross and center medal, if there was one, it was a tool to remember to pray for an increase in faith, hope and love (or charity). Toward the end of the 19th century, use of the credo cross began to diminish and is no longer used today.
The sparkling ruby-red beads are rough-faceted, English-cut glass. There is just enough "give" to slide the beads along the string, facilitating prayer. I love the smaller size and lighter weight of these beads. It makes them much more accessible, comfortable and functional for praying hands to caress. Lovely coiled separator beads surround each filigree pater, echoing the design on the ex voto. The paters are sturdy and in excellent condition with no missing filigree and no dented or collapsed beads.
Consider adding this superb religious antique to your rosary collection. Its fine components and unique size distinguish it from the "typical" Bavarian rosenkranz, and its new string allows a secure and unique prayer experience. Comes boxed and ready for gift-giving.
Weight – 38 grams
Beads – Average 6 x 5-1/2 mm round; paters 9-1/2 mm
Length – 12-1/4 inches total; 5-1/2 inch drop
Crucifix – 2-1/4 x 1-5/8 inches
Credo Cross – 1 inch
Not suitable for wearing
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