Kirsten's Corner

Georgian Gilt Gold and Pinchbeck Quizzing Glass with Snake Handle


This Georgian quizzing glass is circa the early 1800’s. The body of a hand-engraved snake intertwines to make the handle. The snake has two eyes and an open mouth that holds a ball leading into the magnifier’s frame. Scales are engraved on the snake’s skin, and under his chin is a sweet added detail of a delicate arch pattern. The magnifying glass still works. Quizzing glasses have become harder and harder to find over the years, so this treasure is a bit of a rarity! 

The quizzing glass pendant is a portable magnifying glass, usually made from a bevelled magnifying glass piece set into ornate metal work. The magnifier existed since the 12th century but it wasn’t until the mid 18th century that they were carried around the neck on a gold chain or ribbon.  Quizzing glasses were portable accessories, and when they came to fashion in the Regency and Victorian eras, they were also worn as pendants and as a prized piece of jewelry signifying status and wealth. Learn more about quizzing glasses by reading our blog post. 

When worn in contemporary fashion, a quizzing glass pendant makes for a unique and expressive piece of jewelry. We’ve paired it here with an 18K Gold Italian Vintage Curb and Infinity Link Chain, also available through our shop. The infinity link has the sinuous feel of a snake, complimenting the imagery of the pendant. 

Weighs: 10.5 grams
2 7/8” x 1 1/2”

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