A rare and tiny convent example (measuring 3/4” tall), it has an inner “door” which opens to reveal a small chamber for a relic or written intention. It originates from a lifetime collection in the Champagne region of France and dates towards 1880. This precious sacred heart would have been owned by a religious person, most likely a nun, who would have worn it on a chain attached to a belt or worn around her neck underneath her habit.
The silver (no hallmarks found but tests .925) heart has a crossing Crown of Thorns which is set with small turquoise stones. The stones are placed in an engraved channel which depicts a flat vine with thorns. There is is a small round latch, thumb hold and lower latch at the right which opens the precious heart. The interior back has a scrap of green silk (which has worn to threads with age). There is a separate glass heart shaped panel which has an outer edging of silver. This is placed over the relic or intention so it can be seen. The panel is not fixed, it is placed over the relic chamber as a protective piece. There is a ring at the top for threading a chain.
It measures 3/4” tall and 1/2” wide. It is in very good antique condition: some light scratching to back, a very light tiny indentation on the back (not very noticeable). All the turquoise stones are present. We have not cleaned the inside to preserve the history. The glass of the heart shaped panel has no cracks or chips noted).
We have never seen a sacred heart such as this. It is a rare and precious piece of religious history that has a very sacred ambiance.
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18th and 19th Century French Antiques
Fine French Small Antiques; Gilded Bronze, Objets of Vertu, Antique Books, Napoleon III, Porte Montre, Cast Bronze