Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: A Swiss Music Box Pendant, 1805-1810

"Musical Box" Pendant
Gold, Enamel, Rose-Cut Diamonds, Pearls
Switzerland, 1805-1810
The Victoria & Albert Museum

At first glance, this masterpiece of enameled gold, rose-cut diamonds and pearls with its delicate floral pattern and alluring blue color-scheme appears to be a brilliant and magnificent pendant in the shape of a harp—which it is. However, it’s much more than that. When you study it further, you begin to wonder why it comes with a matching key.

It’s then that you realize that the key is used to wind the piece and that it is, in fact, a small music box meant to be worn as a jewel.

Made in Switzerland between 1805 and 1810, this is the height of ingenuity, combining Swiss sensibilities with stunning French design.

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