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Gold pendant set with emeralds and diamonds

1650/1650

British Museum

British Museum

The back of the pendant is enamelled with a design of flowers. The lower section incorporates an 'S' pierced by a nail, referring to a Spanish religious confraternity (brotherhood).

Jewelled pendants were extremely fashionable in Spain during the second half of the seventeenth century, worn by the wealthy and those in court circles. The desire for personal ostentation and extravagant display was easily met by the influx of gold, diamonds and other gem stones from Spain's colonies in the New World. Motifs previously made in fabric for the enrichment of dress, such as ribbons, bows and butterflies, were transformed into glittering gold and gem ornaments, the bow-knot, or lazo, being especially popular. Pendants could be worn hanging from a gold or pearl chain, or pinned to the bodice.

Members of religious confraternities also wore these pendants, or veneras, with additional symbolic decoration to demonstrate their allegiance and faith. Here, the 'S', or 's-clavo' (clavo meaning nail, esclavo, meaning 'slave') refers to the description of the members of such different confraternities as the 'Esclavos del Santísimo Sacramento' and the 'Esclavos de Nuestra Señora'. The cult of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin reached its peak in Spain during the first half of the seventeenth century, and veneras were produced in great numbers with the crowned MARIA monogram, or with a figure of the Virgin. The Holy Order of the Inquisition used the device of a cross flanked by a palm and a sword.

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Details

  • Title: Gold pendant set with emeralds and diamonds
  • Date Created: 1650/1650
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 9.30cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: enamelled; cut; pierced
  • Subject: flower; plant; leaf
  • Registration number: 1978,1002.287
  • Production place: Made in Spain
  • Material: gold; enamel; emerald; diamond
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Hull Grundy, John. Donated by Hull Grundy, Anne. Purchased from Phillips, S.J.

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