Rare Baroque Era 15kt "Memento Mori" Skeleton + Hair Slide Pendant
"Momento Mori" is a Latin term that means "Remember that you will die." This reflective view of life and mortality dates back to early Christianity during the Medieval era, and became highly symbolic. Representations of Momento Mori themes were present in early art forms, architecture, and eventually jewelry, which was very popular during the Georgian era. Motifs often included skulls, skeletons, and inscriptions of the Latin phrase. When worn, Memento Mori jewelry serves as a reminder of human mortality, and the temporary, yet precious quality of life.
An incredibly rare Memento Mori mourning pendant from the Baroque era (ca1688)! This museum quality piece is an exceptional example of pre-Georgian "Momento Mori" jewelry. The pendant is crafted in 15kt gold, and has an open faced design, displaying a skeleton motif encased behind a glass window. The miniature skeleton rests above a lock of human hair, the keepsake of a lost loved one. Delicate hand-painted details decorate the surface of the 3-dimensional skeleton, including individual bones and joints. Grasped in one hand is what appears to be an arrow, while the other hand holds a symbolic hourglass. Surrounding the design is a finely etched gold bezel, which holds the glass cover securely in place. The reverse side of the piece reveals two hidden gold handles that allow a chain or cord to pass through, a feature known as a "slide pendant." Engraved on the back is the original inscription, which reads "F. Potts obt 28 Mar 1688," indicating the name and date of death of the individual that this piece commemorates. This marvelous and well-preserved historical piece is a rare find, and would make a treasured addition to any early antique jewelry collection!
Measurements: The pendant measures 3/4" tall, 5/8" wide, and 1/8" thick. The slide handles on the back would accommodate a chain or cord measuring up to 1/16" thick.
Condition: The overall condition of the pendant is excellent and remains incredibly well-preserved, especially considering its antiquity. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the gold setting. The glass cover is intact and securely set, and the skeleton and hair are safely held in place.
**Please note that due to the age and rarity of this collector's piece, extreme care should be used when handling or wearing. In order to preserve its condition, it is very important to avoid it coming into contact with water or moisture, which could damage the interior design.