History in Quartz

History in Quartz

From Sovereigns to Souvenirs

We are delighted to be selling a unique necklace composed of nine 17th and 18th century ‘Stuart crystal’ memorial slides. This decedant piece will be offered in our upcoming 27 June Fine Jewellery & Watches Sale. 

2 June 2023

Composed of nine exquisite ‘Stuart crystal’ memorial slides, this stunning creation from the Georgian era will take centre stage in our upcoming Fine Jewellery and Watch auction on 27 June. With a starting estimate of £6,000-7,000, this unique treasure promises to enchant discerning collectors and history enthusiasts alike.

Crafted from faceted rock crystal, known as quartz, these precious slides encapsulate poignant remnants of the past. Originating from the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Stuart crystals served as a precursor to the beloved memorial jewels that gained popularity during the Georgian and Victorian eras. Initially worn as tokens of support for the fallen Stuart monarch, Charles I, after his execution in 1649, these pieces quickly evolved into sentimental keepsakes that resonated with a wider audience. 


A necklace composed of nine 17th and 18th century ‘Stuart crystal’ memorial slides (£6,000-7,000)

A necklace composed of nine 17th and 18th century ‘Stuart crystal’ memorial slides (£6,000-7,000)


While many Stuart crystals took the form of rings or brooches, the majority of surviving examples are the cherished ‘slides’. These delicate works of art were often suspended from ribbons, adorning the neck or wrist of their wearers. Each slide harbours a world of intricate details, featuring fine panels of woven hair, evocative enamel depictions of ‘memento mori’ imagery - such as angels, skulls, flowers, or doves - and the initials and dates of beloved family members.

This necklace comes for sale from the Carew family, formerly of Crowcombe Court, a breathtaking Grade 1 listed property nestled in the picturesque Somerset landscape. Two rows of belcher link chain unite the nine slides, each boasting its own distinctive motifs and initials. At the heart of this masterpiece, you will discover a pair of slides adorned with gold thread initials - ‘EJ’ and ‘MJ’ - set against a backdrop of meticulously woven hair. These central slides are enclosed by split pearl frames, enhanced with delicate pink and black enamel accents, showcasing an unparalleled level of craftsmanship. The remaining slides unveil an array of initials and typical motifs, including putti, skulls, and even a haunting depiction of a skeleton. One of the slides is adorned with a portrait miniature of a lady in late 17th century dress. It is likely that these impressive slides represent various members of a single extraordinary family, adding a layer of intrigue to their already remarkable story.


A necklace composed of nine 17th and 18th century ‘Stuart crystal’ memorial slides (£6,000-7,000)

A necklace composed of nine 17th and 18th century ‘Stuart crystal’ memorial slides (£6,000-7,000)


Let this striking piece transport you to a time of opulence, elegance, and heartfelt remembrance.

To browse the full catalogue for our upcoming 27 June Fine Jewellery & Watches Sale click here.


For more information, please contact jewellery@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778




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