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Georgian Maltese Cross in Silver and Paste

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Directory: Estate Jewelry: Silver: Pre Victorian: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 1008959

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Georgian Maltese Cross in Silver and Paste
This Maltese Cross is made with sterling silver that provides foiled, closed settings to hold various sizes of pastes.The pastes are a brilliant clear white. Their brilliance attests to the mastery of the paste maker's technique. There is no corrosion of the foil and one would think light was coming to the stones from all sides. The Maltese Cross was an item of fashion in the 18th and 19th century, and became so because a certain infamous mistress wore it to society balls, to bespeak her honor. This certain lady, received the Cross of Malta from Russia for sending food in aid of Maltese citizens. It has always been connected with rescue and works of valor. Paste making was an art form that reached its pinnacle in this period. It is not to be compared with the imitation gems we have today. A jeweler who succeeded in formulating fine paste kept his method a guarded secret. The stones were artfully faceted. No effort was spared. In many cases, paste stones were more brilliant than gemstones. The stone cutter lost little if he experimented with faceting and damaged a paste. He had to be much more conservative handling diamonds which were frequently rough cut and placed in closed settings. The lack of intrinsic value did not keep royalty from admiring and acquiring paste jewels. Napolean gave them to Josephine. Queens had private paste makers. The finest at their trade became famous. This maltese cross, has geormetric beauty of form,. The recent publication "Georgian Jewelry" by Ginny Dawes and Olivia Collings marvelously explains the rarity, workmanship, value and care of Georgian Jewelry. Among its subjects is the importance of paste in the 18th and 19th century.


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