Portrait of Amalie of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Stuart Crystal dates from the 17th Century and can be attributed to the politics associated with the Stuart Monarchy and the execution of King Charles I in 1649. Royalist supporters of the King, wore upon their person a ring, slide, pendant or brooch which was faceted rock crystal set underneath of which was either a portrait of the King, a lock of his hair with gold initials (often referred to as a cypher). Stuart Crystal pieces continued into the 18th Century, these were often memorial or sentimental in theme, trends associated with the Georgian Period.
Stuart Crystal earrings, pink foiled with gold cypher
English in origin, these beautiful earrings date somewhere between the Late 17th Century to the mid 18th Century & although the pink foiling underneath one of the crystals does show signs of wear, they are a beautiful example of Stuart Crystal jewellery. They have been step cut and bevelled to reflect light, mounted on silver with gold ear wires (original reverse fittings), pink foiling with gold cypher on each - the cyphers are quite elaborate and I am unable to determine what the cypher (initials) are; these earrings are sentimental; most likely a tribute to a marriage. One can only imagine the Lady who wore these beauties, they reflect light beautifully and must have looked amazing in the candle light of a Georgian ball.
These mementos are a testament to the beautiful sentiments of the Georgian (and Pre-Georgian) periods in history and are so fascinating and enigmatic that it's no wonder they are remarkably rare to come across and inspire many an enthusiast. I would direct anyone who has an interest in Stuart Crystal jewellery to Hayden Peter's website the Art of Mourning as he has some very interesting pieces, not to mention further valuable information regarding memorial and sentimental jewellery: http://artofmourning.com/