Designed as a necklace of sixty-nine polished emerald beads between yellow gold rondelles set with table-cut diamonds, to a similarly-set pendent line suspending a stylised cross composed of a central...
Designed as a necklace of sixty-nine polished emerald beads between yellow gold rondelles set with table-cut diamonds, to a similarly-set pendent line suspending a stylised cross composed of a central round polished emerald extending four oval-shaped emeralds, embellished by four ribbon-like loops in yellow gold, applied with black and white enamel and facetted diamond accents, German, circa 1680. Dimensions: length 17 inches including the pendant. Dimensions of pendant: Length (with bail) 5cm, width; 4.4cm. Weight of pendant: Weight 15.8 grams. In its original form, this rosary suspended an emerald pendant carved with the Annunciation, the reverse of which contained a particle of the True Cross inscribed Lig. S+
It's incredibly rare that jewels from the 17th Century survive to the present day and even rarer with traceable royal provenance. The House of Wettin is one of the oldest dynasties in Europe with its origins in the 10th Century. This necklace found itself in the Albertine branch of the family and was probably housed in the famous Dresden Green Vaults. The vaults had been created in 16th Century to house the treasures of the Electorate of Saxony, with a large collection of this put on public display by Augustus The Strong (Elector of Saxony) from 1723, as it still is today. The necklace was never part of the public display and returned into the private hands of the Wettin family, namely King Frederick Augustus III, the last King of Saxony, around 1930. It was consigned by Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony's widow Princess Virginia for auction with her nephew at Habsburg Feldman auctioneers in the 1990s, eventually making its way into the erudite collection of American socialite and philanthropist Mrs Jayne Wrightsman. As much as its provenance, it is also an exemplary collection of old mine Colombian emeralds.