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AN OTTOMAN GEMSET GOLD NECKLACE TURKEY, 17TH CENTURY The necklace formed of a series of alternating rosette and polygonal gold panels joined by small hinges issuing a single pearl, each panel set with a series of turquoise, rubies and emeralds in rosette shaped mounts, the central panels issuing similarly set chains which suspend a further, tulip-shaped panel 10½in. (27cm.) long (without chain)
Formerly Alfred Tortillia Collection, Alexandria, 1920s to 1950s,
Thence by descent

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Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse
Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse

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Lot Essay

This gold necklace, heavily set with rubies and turquoise, relates to a group of precious bejeweled objects made for Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. Raised rosettes decorate the gold surface of the panels, creating truncated forms with turquoises, rubies and emeralds set into their apexes. A similar technique, though on slightly grander scale, is used on a number of pieces now in the Topkapi Saray Museum. These include a wonderful jeweled and gold-inlaid steel ceremonial helmet and a gold canteen (matara) (inv. 2/1187 and 2/3825, both published in Esin Atil, The Age of Suleyman the Magnificent, exhibition catalogue, Washington D.C., 1987, pp.123 and 149). They are dated to the mid and second half of the 16th century respectively. Both examples share with ours not only the rosette settings of the precious stones, but also the lightly pounced ground onto which they are set. A mace, attributed to the 17th century, and similarly inset with turquoise and rubies, was recently published (Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest, inv.no.E 60.6, Nurhan Atasoy and Lâle Uluç, Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe: 1453-1699, Istanbul, 2012). In terms of the stones that decorate the surface our necklace relates to both the helmet and the mace. In the quality of the work, our necklace relates most closely to the mace, suggesting a 17th century date.

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