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Emerald pendant


Creator: English (nationality)
Creation Date: 
c. 1860-70
Materials and techniques: 
Gold, Colombian emerald, enamel, diamonds and woven material, possibly hair, behind the emerald
6.8 x 3.7 x 0.7 cm
XQG 2005 Treas
XQG 1990 188
XQG 2002 151
XQGCH 1991 188
G&J 2008 295
Acquirer: Queen Mary, consort of King George V, King of the United Kingdom (1867-1953), when Queen Consort (1910-36)
Frederick, Duke of York; by whom apparently given to John Bridge (1755-1834); by descent; sale Knight Frank & Rutley, London, 3 February 1916 (lot 76); purchased by Queen Mary

Large table-cut hexagonal emerald, set and backed in gold; surrounded by a frame with white, black, blue, green and red champlevé enamel cartouches with rosettes alternating with six table-cut diamonds. From a large red and blue enamel suspension loop and a small red enamel loop at the bottom is suspended a lozenge-shaped pendant set with four table-cut diamonds. The gold backing of the emerald is inscribed: Elizabeth R.

According to the Catalogue of Additions to the King’s Audience Room, started in 1914, the pendant was ‘formerly the property of Frederick Duke of York; and by him made over to Mr. Bridge (of the Royal goldsmiths, Rundell & Bridge) and purchased from his descendants by Queen Mary in 1916. The emerald is presumed to have been among Queen Elizabeth’s jewels.’ The entry can only refer to the stone as the mount is later.

Although the cut of the emerald is 16th century and Queen Mary acquired the pendant on the basis of the stone’s traditional association with Elizabeth I, its early history remains undocumented. The inscription on the reverse is a facsimile of Elizabeth I’s signature and was probably engraved c.1860-70, at a time when jewels and relics associated with Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, were much sought after by antiquarians.

Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008

Further details

Additional Creators: Rundell Bridge & Rundell (goldsmith)
After Brogden, John (c.1860-1870) (designer)
England (place of production)
Gems & Jewels