The Fettercairn jewel, a Scottish renaissance-era treasure, is to sell at Sotheby’s London.
It will star in a major auction of pieces from two great Scottish houses – the Forbes of Pitsligo and the Earls and Marquesses of Lothian.
The Fettercairn Jewel was probably made by an Edinburgh-based goldsmijh
This jewel is from the collection of the Forbes family, who lived in Fettercairn House for centuries, and was made by a Scottish jeweller circa 1570-1580.
It probably originates from Edinburgh, which was home to several renowned goldsmiths during this time.
It depicts the figure of Mercury, a symbol of good fortune, while the buildings in the background suggest Glasgow.
The animals are thought to identify the family behind the commission.
The precious stone hidden behind the enamel faceplate is garnet, which was believed to have protective properties.
Sotheby’s comments: “The craftsmanship of the Fettercairn jewel is at a level seldom seen in Renaissance jewellery and represents an unparalleled opportunity to acquire a unique piece of Scottish history.”
Sotheby’s suggests the goldmsith may have been the same person behind the equally extravagant Darnley jewel, which was made around the same time.
The Darnley jewel was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1843 and remains part of the Royal Collection.
The lot is valued at £30,000-50,000 ($37,501-62,502).
The sale will include a wealth of other pieces from Fettercairn House, which was sold last year.
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