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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1540-1560 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamelled gold, set with a hessonite garnet and a peridot, and hung with a sapphire

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Joan Evans

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 52, shelf B, box 5

The settings of the stones on this pendant are open at the back. This allows direct contact with the wearer's skin. According to medieval and Renaissance beliefs, the magical properties of the stones could thus benefit the wearer. Renaisance pendants were often made as amulets to protect against danger. Here, the power of the amulet is heightened by an inscription to ward off epilepsy and an invocation to God, Jesus and Mary.

Physical description

Prophylactic pendant, gold, with traces of enamel in black and translucent blue, set with a hessonite garnet and a peridot, and hung with a sapphire.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1540-1560 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Enamelled gold, set with a hessonite garnet and a peridot, and hung with a sapphire

Marks and inscriptions

Textual information; back of the setting

Textual information; back of the setting


Height: 5.9 cm, Width: 2.8 cm, Depth: 0.6 cm

Object history note

The stones are set unbacked to allow their magical properties to reach the skin of the wearer.

The entry by Anna Somers Cocks in Princely Magnificence (see references) includes the following interpretaion of the inscriptions:
'ANNANISAPTA DEI is a very common invocation, frequently engraved on 15th century rings, for example, and it was generally believed to ward off epilepsy. DETRAGRAMMATA, a version of TETRAGRAMMATON, refers to the four letters with which the name of God, Jahweh, is written in Hebrew. IHS, the abbreviation of the name Jesus, and less often MARIA, were used with similar amuletic intention.'

Historical context note

The pendant, although resembling several drawings by Holbein, seems to have been a common type.

Descriptive line

Prophylactic pendant, gold, enamelled and set with a hessonite garnet and a peridot, and hung with a sapphire, Britain, ca.1540-60.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wheeler, Jo Renaissance secrets, recipes and formulas . London: V&A, 2009, p 79
Somers-Cock, Anna, Princely Magnificence: court jewels of the Renaissance, 1500-1630, V&A, 1981, pp 47-8, cat.8


Gold; Garnet; Sapphire; Peridot



Subjects depicted

Scrolls (motifs)


ELISE; Images Online; Jewellery; Amulet; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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