Kirsten's Corner

14K Gold Rare Georgian Quizzing Glass Magnifying Pendant with Snake Motif


This is a remarkable 14K gold quizzing glass from the late Georgian era, featuring a curling snake around the handle of the antique magnifying glass. Pieces like this one are rare today.

A quizzing glass is a single magnifying lens on a handle that would be used to enlarge the object in view. The term “quizzing glass” first appeared in the late 18th century. These objects were just as fashionable as they were functional. They were considered jewelry, often made out of gold, pinchbeck, sterling silver, and other base metals. These pieces would be worn around the neck, hung on a ribbon or gold chain by both men and women.

This charming antique is in very good condition for its age. From the tip of the handle to the edge of the gold frame, this piece is approximately 2-5/8 inches long. The handle at the top is a perfect round circle that swivels and serves as a bale, making it easy to place this piece on the chain of your choice. There are some minimal scratches on the glass due to the age of the piece, but it is still fully functional and this does not detract from the beauty of the piece. The soft edges of the rectangular glass fits snuggly into the 14K gold frame that has a twisted gold rope accent. The glass is the original one, with a bezel around the edge, and quite good magnifying potential. The glass is approximately 1 inch by 1-1/2 inches in size. The gold frame is approximately 1- 1/2” by 1 -1/4”. There is a subdued but bright gold look to this piece. What is most eye catching and stands out from this simple design is the curling and highly well rendered curling snake along the handle. The snake even has a detailed face, eyes in full expression with its tongue sticking out. The tail of the snake ends at the top bale that spins around, mirroring the turning effect of the animal. This piece weighs approximately 14 grams. Circa 1820, in great condition for its age. The piece is a fine example of Georgian jewelry, with both beauty and function. If you wish to replace the antique glass with a newer one, the frame around the magnifier can be unscrewed by a professional jeweler. The glass can be taken out, or simply polished and restored.

This quizzing glass piece is a rare collectible, and wonderful conversation piece. Perfect as a unisex gift, this versatile piece of jewelry would make a wonderful gift or a fabulous addition to your antique collection! Circa 1840, in great condition for its age. This piece is unmarked, but has been acid tested to 14 karats of gold.

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