Circa 1750 18ct Gold 'Coque de Perle'
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A beautiful piece of jewellery history, we have had this sublime remnant from a glamorous past life lovingly restored to a pendant by our clever jeweller (who said he very much enjoyed doing the work). Mounted in glossy 18ct yellow Gold, this oval of Nautilus shell dates to the mid 18th century, when as the height of fashion, earrings and pendants were worn by the well-to-do.
On a Silver Gilt chain measuring 24 inches, the pendant itself measures an inch lengthwise.
According to French expert Jean Henri Prosper Pouget writing in 1762:
"Coque de perles are flat on one side, and are used for ornaments, one side of which only is seen. By Pliny they are called physemata. Artificial pearls of this kind have, for some time past, been employed in making ear-rings..... 'La Coque de perle,' says he, "is not formed in a pearl-shell like the pearl; it is procured from a kind of snail found only in the East-Indies. There are several species of them. The shell of this animal is sawn in two, and one Coque only can be obtained from each. The Coques are very small, and one is obliged to fill them with tears of mastic to give them a body, before they can be employed. This beautiful snail is found generally in the sea, and sometimes on the shore.'"