A carved natural rock crystal pendant, Spanish or Italian, circa 1650. The deeply carved rock crystal is mounted in gold and richly decorated with colourful enamels, with symbols of amour.. Enclosed in the centre of the pendant on one side are tiny watercolour on vellum miniature cut-outs of a forget-me-not on a hair ground and on the other side tiny watercolour on vellum miniature cut-outs of a tulip bursting from a flaming heart and forget-me-nots, on a hair ground. The symbols are obviously amatory – the tulip symbolising deep love and the forget-me-nots symbolising true love.
During the Renaissance there was wide held belief in the talismanic power of the magical stone rock crystal, which carried with it the protection of Heaven, where it was said to have come from. The ownership of rock crystals in precious jewelled and gold mounts was for an elite audience and a powerful status symbol. The pendant measures 2 and 1/8 inches in length and is 1 and 1/8 inches wide. It has survived in remarkably good condition. For similar Renaissance rock crystal pendants, see the Victoria and Albert Museum Jewellery Collection and Kugel’s publication, Joyeaux Renaissance.