"Saint Bonita"

Antique Victorian Pinchbeck, Paste Turquoise & Banded Agate Cross Pendant

  • Sale
  • Regular price $1,100.00


 Crosses have been worn as symbols of Christianity for thousands of years, and the nineteenth century saw a surge of popularity in this motif with the Church being held in absolute regard, and piety cherished above all. The custom of wearing a cross pendant has remained in vogue ever since. Victorians adored turquoise, and loved to implement the stone in jewelry; it became a symbol of good luck, and was often gifted to represent fondness and love.  Traditionally many cultures associate turquoise with warding off of the "evil eye!"

This visually arresting cross pendant is made of Pinchbeck, a durable yellow metal that resembles gold but is made with a combination of copper and zinc—much less zinc than the combo of the same two metals used to produce brass. The formula was developed by Christopher Pinchbeck, a London clockmaker who lived from about 1670 to 1732. Pinchbeck was an affordable substitute for gold, and records indicate that travelers who were at risk of robbery from highwaymen often carried jewelry and accessories made from Pinchbeck and other similar metals, rather than travel with their more expensive pieces.

With 32 paste turquoise and 8 banded agate cabochons set in the pendant, and another 14 tiny  paste turquoise and three banded agate cabochons decorating the bale, this cross makes a stunning presentation, proving that non-precious metals and stones can be stylish and artistic, and that Victorians incorporated the cross into their travel jewelry as well as in their finery. We love this idea so much that we have named her "Saint Bonita", after a Patron Saint of travel, Bona of Pisa.


Details (approximate)

Dimensions: 3 3/8" x 1 6/8"

Weight: 24 grams

Materials: Pinchbeck, Paste Turquoise, Banded Agate

Marks: None

Condition: Excellent antique condition