Rare Antique 17th Century High Karat Gold Spanish Enamel Devotional Reliquary Locket Pendant, Ancient Renaissance Jewelry

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Circa 1600s, this Spanish devotional reliquary pendant is the oldest yet most charming piece of period jewelry that I have come across thus far. The pendant has an open work design with a receptacle in the center which is structured by two identically designed decorative enameled border gold frames with two glass panels. It features an original ornate carving bale at the top. The original stone relic is placed inside the receptacle. One side of the stone has a mysterious etching facial image of one of the saints, revealing its devotional nature.

As a typical design of the 17th century reliquaries and devotional jewels made in southern Europe (especially Spain and Italy), the center element of the pendant normally holds a relic or holy image beneath a panel of glass and it can be inserted or removed upon the desire of the wearer. Also, consistent with the devotional jewelry design of that period, the center receptacle is double-sided. Each side has a square frame with a highly decorative border filled with colored enameling which is often seen in 17th century Renaissance jewelry.

Back in the 17th century, devotional jewelry was an essential daily jewelry wear for most Spanish women. It was a socially expected way to demonstrate Catholic faith and an important element of the Spanish identity.

Even if you are not religious, because of the design of the center receptacle, a modern way of wearing it is replacing the stone relic with pressed flowers, your loved one's picture or any personal memento. It's rather romantic and practical!

A video of this pendant is available on my Instagram (@memorystation2013) here.  

Measurements: 1 & 5/16 x 1 & 1/8". All measurements are approximate.

Hallmark and Metal: there are two old hallmarks on the bale. The hallmarks are later assay marks, likely added when the piece left Spain. Tested as 22K or higher.

Pendant weight: approx. 10.5 grams.

Condition: very good antique condition. The enameling has age appropriate wear. All elements are original. Minor bubble chips on the glass covers. The receptacle opens well and closes securely. Please refer to the pictures for the overall condition.

*Due to the value of this item the price reflects a domestic shipping cost of $35.00, which includes tracking and insurance.  International shipping uses Fed-Ex International Priority.