This is quite an extraordinary and unique pendant, circa 1840, which reminds me of Mozart’s ‘Queen of the Night’. It is gold and silver with a central enamel harlequin masked head set within a seven pointed faery star [the star of enchantment], studded with rose-cut diamonds. The figure wears a black half-face mask and a ruby and diamond crown. Her cheeks are rouged and her lips are stained cochineal red. Derived from the the Commedia dell’arte, the wearing of masks was associated with role play and added a sense of intrigue and ambiguity to social interaction. Masquerade balls were popular throughout the eighteenth century despite the disapproval of those who considered them immoral. These balls suspended the formal conventions and norms of polite society, such as social rankings and gender roles for a few hours. With a mask to conceal one’s true identity, it was possible to step into another world where anything became possible, where the wealthy, famous and infamous danced, flirted and intrigued until dawn. This masquerade pendant measures 2 inches by 1 and 3/4 inches. It comes in its original fitted case and has a optional gold brooch fitting. An object of enchantment.