Very lovely and rare 19th Century souvenir religious medal of the Black Madonna of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvièr in Lyon, France. Depicts an ornately robed Virgin with equally well robe Child. In 20-22 karat thick gold laminate. The rim of the medal over them bears the words: Snir DE N.D. DE FOURVIERE. Signed initials in bottom left: FR., something unreadable on the lower right, and on the loop is a makers stamp. Back of the medal is blank. Measures 3/4 inch diameter. Condition is mint. Original matte gold finish. Never worn, only saved.
The gold content of of this medal and many other 19th Century French ones like it is unusual - to maintain the desired high karat yellow color, but still have a strong medal, they sandwiched 2 thick outside layers of high karat gold with a stiffer non-gold metal (what kind I don’t know) in the middle. Similar to England’s Sheffield plate method of sandwiching a layer of copper between 2 outside layers of sterling silver. So, for the life of most people, the outer gold layers should not wear out, but because of the base metal middle layer, it does not pass the acid test for solid gold.
Please note this medal is NOT being sold with a chain. However I do have available for additional purchase new solid 14K gold chains (the one in the photos) - 16 inch one for $90.00 or a 18inch one for $95.00.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvièr in Lyon is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have saved the city of Lyon from the plague in 1643. Black Madonna statues representing the Blessed Virgin Mary and Christ Child with black skin frequently date back to the middle ages and are typically associated with a history of miracles.
Please see the other interesting religious items and crosses I have on my site. Since items are listed chronologically, to find a particular type of item, type it in the Search Box on the home page of my website.