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Amulet

  • Place of origin:

    Bavaria (used)

  • Date:

    1800-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Branch of natural white coral in silver mount

  • Credit Line:

    Hildburgh Gift

  • Museum number:

    M.33-1917

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 72, shelf D, box 11

Amulets were worn by men, women and children throughout southern Europe in the 19th century. Before the development of modern medicine, fevers, cramps and toothache could be painful and dangerous. Childbirth could kill mother or child. Many people believed that the supernatural powers embodied in an amulet could promote fertility and good health and offer protection against malign forces or the ‘evil eye’. Although the Catholic Church was opposed to the pagan nature of many amulets, it was powerless to prevent their use.

Amulets gain their power to protect from harm, or to attract good fortune, from their colour, pattern, shape or material. This piece of unworked white coral was described as helping to protect against intermittent fevers, but the colour may also have made it suitable for women having problems with lactation.

Physical description

Pendant amulet made from a branch of natural white coral set in a toothed silver mount

Place of Origin

Bavaria (used)

Date

1800-1850 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Branch of natural white coral in silver mount

Dimensions

Length: 5.5 cm, Diameter: 1.1 cm

Descriptive line

Amulet of an unworked piece of white coral mounted in silver, Bavaria (South Germany), 1800-1850.

Production Note

Worn against intermittent fevers

Materials

Coral; Silver

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Amulets

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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