Century Antiques is located in Kilby, United Kingdom
Antique Sterling Silver Alexander Ritchie Iona Marriage Pendant & Chain - c.1920
REF: CA2049 / LA94817
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This is beautiful piece of original 1920's Scottish Iona jewellery - the piece doesn't carry standard U.K. hallmarks but instead has an early Alexander Ritchie conjoined AR mark along with the word 'Iona' in a rectangle. According to the Alexander Ritchie tribute website this type of mark was used from circa 1920 - 1925 and, as is relatively common on these early items was not fully hallmarked - that said, the piece is guaranteed to be of sterling quality silver, as was all of Ritchie's silver items. Those familiar with the work of Alexander Ritchie will realise that this would of started life as an annular brooch, hence the pivoting bail to the top - this would of formed the original fastening pin on the brooch - re-purposing and adapting jewellery has been happening for centuries but I've never seen a conversion to a piece such as this. This is how I acquired the piece and my feeling is that this is not a recent conversion and it was almost certainly carried out a good many years ago - I can only guess as to why this was, perhaps its original owner loved the piece but just wanted a pendant instead of a brooch, maybe the pin broke and hence a jeweller has made the conversion to give the piece a new life. This type of item would of originally been known as a marriage brooch and is a classic Ritchie design - the design is a really a homage to medieval style marriage brooches, and testament to this is the Gothic style letter M's around the item. As can be seen in the images, the pendant comes complete with a sterling silver curb link chain - this chain dates from the same era as the pendant or maybe a little earlier and is of good quality but appears to unmarked, which isn't uncommon. What's extraordinary is the length of the chain it came with - it measures an incredible 60 inches / 152.4cm - you couldn't practically wear the piece like this (I'm 6ft and the pendant hangs below the level of my hip!) - if you double looped the chain this makes it more manageable, or perhaps you could snip it in half and use it that way - a chain of this length could only have been one thing; a pocket watch guard / muff chain, and this itself has a value on its own. The pendant measures 5cm across at its widest point - as mentioned above the chain is 60 inches / 152.4cm in length - the pendant weighs 21.2g and the chain weighs 51.8g - the total weights is 73g. I see a lot of Alexander Ritchie designed and inspired jewellery, but for every 40 to 50 pieces maker marked by other contemporary silversmiths I'll only see one actually marked by Ritchie himself (I actually have another Ritchie marriage brooch made by the Birmingham silversmith, Darby & Sons, an outworker for Ritchie from the 1920's). This is great value item, not only are you buying an original early Iona piece of jewellery but you are getting a substantial antique silver guard chain which can typically sell on auction sites for well over £100 each - there will I'm sure be 'purists' out there that will disapprove of the conversion of this item to a pendant, but I think it works well and looks good when worn.
Century Antiques has clarified that the Antique Sterling Silver Alexander Ritchie Iona Marriage Pendant & Chain - c.1920 (LA94817) is genuinely of the period declared with the date/period of manufacture being c.1920
The condition of the item all round is good - naturally there are normal signs of wear that you'd expect of an item that is almost 100 years old - the chain and its fastening both work exactly as they should.
Delivery to U.K. addresses is free (sent via special delivery). Delivery to Europe is £9.00 (sent via a tracked / signed for service). Delivery to outside Europe is £11.00 (sent via a tracked / signed for service).
This Antique Sterling Silver Alexander Ritchie Iona Marriage Pendant & Chain - c.1920 is located in Kilby, United Kingdom