Elizabethan Gold Harp Pendant with Pearl Drops

£ 1,000.00

A fine Elizabethan gold pendant formed as a frame-harp with delicate curving scrolls resting on the corners of the harmonic curve. The neck contains embellished spheres representing the turning pins, which lie above the openwork angled strings. The lower body is enriched with three drop dangles, featuring cream coloured pearl beads. The pendant is held by a suspension loop.

Date: Circa 16th - 17th Century AD
Period: Acquired 1960s-1990s. Late Alison Barker collection, a retired London barrister.
Condition: Excellent Condition


SKU: SM-27 Category: Tag:

Pendants succeeded brooches as they fell out of fashion in the early 1500s. New fashions were emerging as goldwork became more developed, intricate and ornate, contributing to the popularity of the adornment of pendants. Pendants were often suspended from a necklace or carcanet, worn on a ribbon round the neck, attached to a gown or sleeve, attacthed to the end of a jewelled girdle or worn in the hair as an ornament.

Pendants were elaborate creations of metal, often gold and silver, combined with gemstones, enamel and pearls. Elizabethan jewellery, like many societies, demonstrated wealth, as precious and semi-precious metals were only available to nobility and the upper class. Cheaper alternatives were made of glass, bone, horn and wood and were worn by the lower strata.

Pearls were fashionable and an expensive item of jewellery, and were often attached in droplet formation on pendants, but were also worn as a string or as a single pearl. They symbolised purity, chastity, feminity and beauty, all of which Queen Elizabeth I put great store in, shown through her large collection of pearls that adorned her clothes and body in portraits.


Weight 3.6 g
Dimensions L 1.9 x W 3.3 x H 0.3 cm



Semi-Precious Stones

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