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Antique Tortoise Shell Pendant, Pique

19th century antique tortoise shell pendant carved in a substantial heart.

The setting is in traditional piqué, where the gold inlay is set in the carved tortoise shell. Tortoise shell is not exactly the hardest material so the the art of piqué remains very much a thing of the past, with roots as early as the 17th century. The tortoise shell in this pair is carved very smoothly into a wholesome heart, the thickest part at 5mm.

The naturalistic flower and leaf designs of the first half of the 19th century developed into more geometric designs by the later half, of balls, stars, dots, stripes and lattices. If you look closely at the photos, you can see from contrasting colors both gold and silver inlay, a very traditional and early piqué work.

This is one of the larger piqué pendants, at 3cm tall and 2.5cm wide.

The piqué heart is quite wonderful, and appropriate, to wear as a choker necklace, in silk or velvet.

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