Large Ex Voto Silver Gilt Flaming Heart Locket Engraved 1884

“Ex Voto” is the shortened version of the Latin, “ex voto suscepto” which means, “from the vow made”. It’s a votive offering placed in a Catholic church, that housed a thanks-giving prayer for a miracle received. This sacred heart ex voto pendant bears an engraved date on the back that reads, “Pierre G. M. J. de Ruffi de Ponterez Gevaudan 14 Octobre 1884”, meaning something very specific to the wearer. He or she was likely giving thanks for prayers that had been answered and granted to them on that very date.

This is a silver French flaming heart ex-voto, a reliquary meant to hold a written prayer, and to be offered in church. The front is engraved with the letters, “AM” layered atop each other on the front. These letters are the abbreviation for the Latin phrase, “Auspice Maria”, meaning, “Under the Protection of Mary”. A heart like this, with flames and the initials of Mary, is known in France as, “Coeur de Marie”, or “Mary’s Heart”. This piece was handcrafted in Paris, sometime prior to the year 1884. It opens to reveal a space for keepsakes, a trinket, a poem, or a photograph.

This pendant weighs 28.6 grams and measures 107 x 56.3 x 28.7 mm. It is fully hallmarked with two boar’s heads, indicating it has a minimum fineness of 800 silver, and that it was assayed in Paris. Another mark reads, “DEPOSE”, a French word hallmark signifying its French origin. The maker’s mark says, “BM” with a three-rung ladder in a triangle cartouche mark.

The idea of giving after receiving isn’t just a Catholic tradition, it dates back to Ancient Roman times when people would leave gifts on the walls by statues of gods and goddesses. This sacred heart pendant would be a fantastic gift for the jewelry lover in your life!

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Item ID:PTA22318VA

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