This exceptional and very rare pendant dates to the early Victorian period. This style of cross is known as a "fleury cross," so named for the petaled elements at the end of each arm of the cross inspired by the fleur-de-lis (or lily). It was often used as a symbol of the resurrection. The three petals of the fleur-de-lis can also be interpreted as a representation of the father, son, and holy spirit; or when used in heraldry, the fleury cross represents the virtues of wisdom, faith and chivalry. This outstanding example employs garnets (yes, those are garnets!) as the body of the cross around which is coiled a diamond-studded snake with ruby eyes and a forked golden tongue. In Christianity, the serpent is not only a symbol of chaos and evil but also of fertility, life and healing. The reverse side is embellished with engraved flowers and scrollwork. A similar, and dare I say slightly less impressive, fleury cross is referenced in the excellent jewelry reference book Understanding Jewellery by Daniella Mascetti and David Bennett. Hangs from a later Victorian 32" 9k gold chain.
15k gold, silver, garnets, 48 rose and old mine cut diamonds (1.25ctw), 2 1mm ruby cabochons, 9k yellow gold chain
c. 1840 cross, c. 1880 chain
2" length, 1.25" width, 32" chain