The cross is one of the most iconic jewels of the 18th century, representing faith and spirituality. Fashionable women wore their crosses both by day and by night. During the Georgian era, colored gems were typically set in closed gold settings with foiled backings to reflect the light. Keep in mind there was no electricity back then so foiling helped to enhance the sparkle of gems in candlelight.
This rare and stunning Georgian cross with pinched collet-set stones in closed back settings from the early 1800s would have hung either from a matching necklace or on a ribbon. In 1752, Lady Jane Coke wrote a letter her friend Mrs. Eyre regarding her new cross jewelry set: "I went to Russell's the day before I came out of town and he would neither show me your cross and earrings nor tell me what they came to. I shall be glad to know what he makes you pay for the setting. You can't mistake in putting the ribbon to it and, as to the length of your cross. You may either wear it high upon your neck or let the bottom of it touch the top of your stays".
This Georgian cross with foiled back amethysts would have been entirely hand made, from the rolling of the gold, to the hammering it out thinly, to the crimped collet setting. It is 45mm long (not including the hanging bail) and approximately 26mm wide. Came to me as 14k but tested as 12k gold. There are no markings, which is common for pieces from this time.
There is some light denting in the back (as shown in photo of the reverse), a few nibbles in the stones (visible with magnification), a chip out of the top of the center stone, and the stones flanking the middle are slightly pushed into their settings. There is a tiny spot of light discoloration on the bottom stone, just behind the bottom edge of it.
None of the above detract from the glow and beautiful vibrant deep purple of this piece. All photos have been taken in daylight by a window.
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