Circa 1850, an exquisite solid 15ct gold pietra dura pendant. The locket back pendant features very fine examples of decorative goldsmithing techniques in an ornate Etruscan design.
The back of the pendant features a hinged glass fronted locket compartment holding a charming photograph of a handsome young man in Victorian dress. The photo compartment is very easy to access, it is a door style and simply flips up to open and it closes smoothly.
The front features, pietra dura, inlaid hardstone in a delightful floral design with lilies, forget-me-nots and a rose.
Although thought to be predominantly Italian pietra dura, mosaic work using semi-precious stones, was also produced in Ashford, Derbyshire during the early part of the 19th century. The industry was backed by the Duke Of Devonshire and examples were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 where the work was deemed to be equal to that found in the finest of Florentine pieces. We can differentiate between the Italian pietra dura and the English by the decoration with the forget-me-nots, lilies and roses being unmistakably English. The black stone is known as Ashford marble, a limestone mined from the hills surrounding the village of Ashford. Like Whitby jet the black marble was ideally suited to mourning jewelry so English pietra dura jewels became especially popular for wear during the sombre mourning period and mood of Queen Victoria's reign following the death of her beloved Albert in 1861.
MATERIALS: 15ct gold, tested.
GEMSTONE: English hardstone
MEASUREMENTS: Locket 1-1/2" high and 1-1/8" wide (38x30mm)
HALLMARKS: The bail is stamped with a hallmark that we are unable to make out.
WEIGHT: 6.3 grams.
DATE: 1850's, mid Victorian.
CONDITION: Very very good antique condition with signs of surface wear to be expected from a piece of jewelry this age. The hardstone inlay is completely intact with no areas of loss. The locket glass is chip and crack free. There is a tiny hole in the gold near the hinge at the top that is only visible under magnification, it does not affect the hinge which is in perfect working order with no signs of weakness and the locket back closes securely.
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