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C1870  MOON & STARS pique Necklace

C1870 MOON & STARS pique Necklace

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Pre 1900: Item # 1426596
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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P.O. Box 4684
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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This is an unusual pique necklace with pique star and circle links throughout. From each circle link dangles a larger star pendant, while a single crescent moon pendant takes center stage. The pendants and links are adorned with inlaid gold. Pique jewelry was made from the shell of the Hawksbill turtle. When heated, the gold or silver can be "pressed in". The material has the added advantage of being lightweight, smooth, and extremely durable. The tradition of Pique work began with the French Huguenots who crafted beautiful objects from tortoiseshell as early as the 17th century. After the revocation of Edict of Nantes in 1685 forced them to flee France, the Huguenots were welcomed by the English who sought to acquire their skills. Soon English artisans learned the tradition of creating beautiful pique jewelry in addition to pique snuff boxes and other decorative items which the French Huguenots were known for. Pique jewelry was much sought after during the Victorian era. After this time, however, the skills needed to create such beautiful pieces were permanently lost.