Ruby and Pearl Cross Pendant
Double-sided cross pendant in openwork made of a silver-gilt outlined frame with infilled scrolls seen from reverse. These are engraved and the outline highlighted. On the front the outline of the cross is studded with tiny gold rosettes. A pearl is set in the center surrounded by a cluster of smaller gemstones.
The style of the cross harkens back to decorative elements from both the Renaissance and the eighteenth century. Known as Historicism, this revivalist style was popular in the 1880s in Germany and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. See: Marquardt, Schmuck: Realismus und Historismus 1850-1895, Deutschland, Österreich Schweiz, 1998, nos. 293, 302, and 303. While emulating earlier styles, this cross also maintains symbolic significance with the placement of a pearl at its center. In the medieval period and later, the pearl was a symbol of both purity and of Christ while the ruby represented Christ’s Passion and sacrificial blood. The four roses on the cross arms are a reminder of Christ’s shedding of blood.