The average life expectancy of a woman born in 1800 in England was about 35 years. By comparison, dear Mary Ann Gillett’s life of 67 years must have seemed quite long and luxurious. Her life was celebrated with the construction of this amazing locket which contains a lock of her hair clasped with seed pearls and gold wire, opposite her hair is an elaborately engraved plaque with her name and the date of her death.
This stunning locket is in amazing condition, likely due to living most of its life in its original fitted box. The front is set with ten pearls and a banded agate and decorated in rich black and white enamel, it reads ‘In Memory Of’. The back of the locket is equally beautiful and showcases a spray of ivy leaves (sorry, we could have cleaned it better!). This locket measures 54 mm north to south and 31.8 mm across, it’s 10.9 mm thick and weighs 24.4 grams; it has no hallmarks, but careful acid testing reveals it to be made of 18 karat gold. This beautiful piece was hand crafted in England in about 1874. The interior inscription reads: ‘Mary Ann Gillett, died 20th Aug..st 1874, Aged 67’. The locket is presented in it’s original fitted box lined in blue velvet, together the locket and box weigh 50.6 grams.
The presence of white enamel on memorial pieces sometimes symbols that the person was unmarried, perhaps the reason Mary Ann lived to such a ripe old age was that she didn’t have to go through the perils of childbirth?
I was chatting with a friend at a fair in central London on a Sunday morning when this cross caught my eye and just wouldn’t let it go. I asked her to hold it and once I had it in my hands there was no letting it go. The smoothly carved white chalcedony, the wonderful inscription, the age and history seemed to seep into my skin and I just had to have it. For you, of course.
This fantastic Georgian Maltese Cross pendant is on the larger side of things. It is set at the center with hair that’s been carefully plated. The reverse bears the engraved message “E.R.W. Ex dono J.W. June 19th, 1832”. An ‘Ex Dono’ is a gift given from one person to another and so I suspect that rather than being a memorial piece to commemorate a death, this cross was actually just given as a gift. The gold fittings have been carefully acid tested as 15 karat gold and piece is in much better condition than I will be at 187 years old! This pendant cross measures 52 mm top to bottom and 41 mm across and weighs 14.9 grams. It was made in England in about 1832.
The term 'Mizpah' is found in Genesis 31:49, it means 'watchtower' and is used as a blessing, meaning "May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other". You just know that those sentimental Victorians had to use this romantic and wonderful phrase in their art and jewelry! This ring would likely have been considered a 'sweetheart ring' and would have been given by a gentleman to his lady love interest to show his intention to court her.
This charming Mizpah ring is hand crafted in 9 karat gold. It was made in England in about 1900. The ring is a size 6 US and measures 8 mm wide and 18.7 mm across the face, it weighs 5.1 grams. This unmarked ring has been carefully acid tested as 9 karat gold.
I just fell in love with this sentimental sweetheart of a ring!
The Chi-Rho is one of the earliest abbreviations for the name of Jesus and once you’ve seen it, you’ll find that you notice it in many places. Look around your own church and you’ll find it, on alter plates, candle holders and banners, maybe, look for it to come up in art, in stonework and more. It was used by Constantine the First as a military standard in 312 AD and has been in use by Christians ever since.
This fantastic micro-mosaic cross has the Chi-Rho at it’s center and white flowers in all directions, most likely meant to symbolize the lily, the symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity. Interestingly, this style and shape of cross is very representative of the church in and of itself as many old cathedrals are just this shape when seen from above. This cross was hand crafted with great skill in 18 karat gold, probably in about 1850, maybe a bit earlier. Beautifully rendered, this cross is a perfect, wearable size at 52 mm top to bottom and 31.2 mm across, it’s 3.8 mm thick and weighs 9.3 grams. This one is unmarked but we’ve carefully acid tested it as 18 karat gold.
The constellation Crux is better known as the Southern Cross. It is comprised of 5 bright stars in the shape of a cross, plus one. It was first noted by Amerigo Vespucci in 1501 and has become symbolic of the lands of the Southern Hemisphere.
This fantastic Southern Cross pendant was hand crafted around 1910 in the Edwardian era. The cross is comprised of four oval moonstone gems and one round moonstone, which add up to about 3.1 carats of total weight. The stones are bezel set in 18 karat yellow gold which while unmarked has been carefully acid tested to verify content. This beautiful cross measures 53.2 mm north to south and 30.1 mm across, it weighs 4.8 grams. This wonderful cross has beautiful blue moonstones and great style!