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Late renaissance or Stuart Crystal slide brooch picturing Cupid's arrow smithy

This type of jewel is called a Stuart crystal. Stuart crystals were mounted in all sort of jewelry, from pins, rings, slides, bracelets and more. Most of the Stuart crystals that survived over the ages are the slide variety, like this one. They became popular in England after 1649, with the execution of the then King of England, Charles I. His loyalists, (the royalists) who wanted to show their sympathy for their fallen monarch would wear small slides set with his portrait or a tress of hair and his initials (in fine gold wire) underneath a faceted crystal.

To find a Stuart crystal slide in this quality with these colors and the depicted scene is really rare, even for us. It is with great pride that we can offer this true collector's item here at our site.

These "memento mori" jewels set the spark for a fashion among the aristocracy for memorial crystals. Later in the 17th Century these crystals were also embellished with all sorts of Cupid scenes like this one. The scene depicted here is about three cupids working in what can be recognized as a smithy. One is standing in front of the fire and the two others are hammering on an anvil. In the green enameld floor of the smithy, in bas-relief, there is a Latin (?) text reading something like "IO CLOMEAL".

The scene is set under a smooth domed faceted rock crystal to a border of Scottish river pearls. Made in the fashionable way of the late 1600's and rather easily recognisable as from that era, the backside of the jewel is enameled in a pink, black and white botanical design (leaf-motifs) much favored in the 17th century.

Being the Cupid of the Greeks, Eros was known to be the most beautiful of all the immortal Gods. Considering that he was Aphrodite’s son, that was not really surprising. Eros carried lead and gold arrows that were strong enough to weaken the will of even the mightiest of Gods. Anyone struck by a Golden arrow would fall madly in love with the first woman he sees. The lead arrows did the exact opposite of the golden ones causing hatred towards a person.

During the Renaissance, Europe emerged from the economic stagnation of the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial growth. The word "renaissance" which is French for re-birth or revival, refers to the revival of the classical (Roman and Greek) arts and learning that began in Italy around 1350 and spread throughout Europe till around 1650. This style is most often associated with the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Dante.

Antique jewelry object group: slide (with a removal contemparary brooch system attached)

Condition: excellent condition
  -  (more info on our condition scale)

Country of origin: Unknown, but most likely Great Britain

Style: Renaissance - The Renaissance (Italian: Rinascimento, from ri- "again" and nascere "be born") was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Florence in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historic era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not uniform across Europe, this is a general use of the term. As a cultural movement, it encompassed a resurgence of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform. Traditionally, this intellectual transformation has resulted in the Renaissance being viewed as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man".
  -  See also: Renaissance or more info on styles

Period: ca. 1670
  -  (events and facts in 1670)

Source of inspiration: Mythology

Theme: Cupid's (or Eros', or Amor's) arrow smithy

Material: Silver on top and backed with 18K red gold hookes through where a ribbon can be attached (see explanation on silver on gold).
  -  (more info on precious metals)

Technique: Enamel on the back side in a technique that is very recognisable for jewelry of that era. Enamelling is an old and widely-adopted technology. The ancient Egyptians applied enamels to pottery and stone objects. The ancient Greeks, Celts, Russians, and Chinese also used enameling processes on metal objects. Enamel is the colorful result of fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 degrees Celsius. The powder melts and flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, glass or ceramic. According to some sources, the word enamel comes from the High German word smelzan (to smelt) via the Old French esmail. Used as a noun, "an enamel" is a usually small decorative object, coated with enamel coating, such as a champlevé or a cloisonné (different techniques).

Extra information: When wearing it as a slide it will look beautiful on a simple black velvet ribbon around the neck. And although born as a slide, somewhere in its last 50 of the approx. 350 years lifetime a system was added to wear it as a brooch. The craftman who did it, did a good job as the way the system is attached is reversible. It can be taken on and off reasonably easy and then worn as one wishes as a brooch or as a slide.

More extra information: Cupid - Or Amos or Eros if you like, is the God of love who launches his love arrows to make people fall in love. Born as a slide and somewhere in its last 50 of the approx. 350 years lifetime a system was added to wear it as a brooch. The craftman who did it, did a good job as the way the system is attached is reversible. It can be taken off and then worn as a slide again. When wearing it as a slide it will look beautiful on a simple black velvet ribbon around the neck.

Precious stones: 12 Scottish river half seed pearls and the picture is covered with a faceted domed rock crystal.
  -  (more info on precious stones)

Birthstones: Pearl is the birthstone (or month stone) for June.
  -  (more info on birthstones)

More background information on: Eros was the Greek god of love and sexual desire. The Greeks regarded him as most beautiful and hansom, the most loved and the most loving. The Romans borrowed Eros from the Greeks and named him Cupid (Latin cupido meaning desire) or Amor (Amor is the Latin word for "love"). Eros has been depicted in art in many ways. They placed statues of him in gymnasiums (as most athletes were thought to be beautiful). He was depicted on every form of utensil, from drinking vessels to oil flasks, usually showing him ready to fire an arrow into the heart of an unsuspecting victim, making the victim fall in love. It's our opinion that this scene shows the smithy in which these arrows were made.

  -  (more info on hallmarks)

Dimensions: 2,60 cm (1,02 inch) x 2,30 cm (0,91 inch)

Weight: 12.00 gram (7.72 dwt)

Reference Nº: 13112-0044

Copyright photography: Adin, fine antique jewelry

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Late renaissance or Stuart Crystal slide brooch picturing Cupid's arrow smithy
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