James II Stuart Crystal Memorial Pendant Jacobite Interest
This is a fabulous Stuart Crystal pendant, dating to the late 17th - early 18th century. The pendant has a gold enameled bezel with a royal crown above a JR monogram, with skull below. This would suggest the woven hair to be that of King James II who died in 1701. Locks of his hair were given to Jacobite supporters of the King in exile over the water. They were set in a way as to fuddle those sent to hunt for Jacobites, by their enemies, but retain meaning to those in the 'know'. This pendant has a royal Stuart Crown and skull, the lettering can be read as R.H. for "Royal Highness", or "Remember Him", the "R" is also a J.R. in monogram for "James Rex" for King James II. The colour of the hair is a light brown, the same colour as James's hair on portraits.
Stuart Crystals were originally created in 1649, after King Charles Ist (the martyred King) was executed under Cromwell’s rule at the end of the Civil War. Royalists wished to memorialize their lost King, to show their support and sympathy, by wearing slides, pendants, rings, earrings or cufflinks with his initials, crowns, or a likeness of the fallen King, set in gold or silver under a crystal. Thus they became known as Stuart crystals, as they were commemorative of King Charles I, of the House of Stuart. Royalists opposed Charles I’s execution, believing that he was God’s chosen leader, and feeling that his death was not justice, but murder. Later in the 17th century, the crystals were worn by Jacobites against the deposition of James II and the Stuart monarchy in 1688. Showing support for fallen monarchs was dangerous, so many Stuart crystals were diminutive and were worn secretly.
This pendant is a choice example of a Stuart Crystal jewel, all original and in excellent antique condition.
OBJECT: Stuart Crystal
CULTURE: Stuart / Baroque
DATE: c. 1701
MATERIAL: GOLD 18k + Crystal
SIZE: 29mm x 19mm x 6mm
WEIGHT: 7.1 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private Collection, Poole, Dorset.