Enameled pendant on copper, gilt metal frame. 1520s. Nardon Pénicaud (French, 1470-1542/3) (Artist) The edge of the mantle was originally inscribed in gilding with words of the Ave Maria prayer, now effaced. Her sky-blue nimbus has a jeweled edge. The background is green, inscribed in faded gilt letters SCA MA and surrounded by a scalloped line in gilding, also very faded. The purple border following the rounded top is studded with raised "jewels" over spangles of foil. Acsn 44.158
Byzantine, 13th century AD From Thessaloniki, Greece St George and St Demetrius Three inscriptions identify the figures and history behind this complex small box. On the base is a medallion enamelled with a half-length bust of St George. He is identified by red letters and surrounded by a Greek inscription which translates, '[The wearer] prays that you will be his fiery defender in battles'.
Reliquary, ca. 1160-1170 CE Square champlevé enamel plaque (Lorraine enamel) depicting the half-length figures of St James and St John identified by Latin inscriptions; four corner pin-holes, now broken; recessed beaded border. Back: Deep gouged tool-marks down the right edge, near the top and in the centre. Front: Four corner pinholes (now broken) for attachment to a wooden core. British Museum Museum number 1913,1220.1
1500-1525 Flemish hat badge. Silver and niello engraved. Many men, kings and commoners, wore a badge with a religious subject on their hat. The subject here is the visit the Virgin Mary paid to her cousin Elizabeth, when both were pregnant with the sons who would become Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. Accession no 45.1
The Vikings did not wear earrings. The Slavic peoples they encountered on expeditions did, however. Jewellery could be made from various materials, such as wood, glass, amber, bronze and gold. Pieces of jewellery were often decorated with geometric designs, plaited bands, animal heads and gripping beasts.
Fragments of the skull of St Eustace were housed in a 'head' intended to produce in the worshipper an image of the venerated saint. This particular head has been associated with St Eustace since 1477. According to legend, Eustace was a general under the emperor Trajan (reigned AD 98-117) who was converted to Christianity while hunting, after seeing a vision of a stag with a luminous crucifx between its antlers.