Label

Following Martha Washington's death, her descendants frequently refashioned jewelry so that successive generations might wear a few of the stones, beads, or pearls that graced her ears or encircled her neck. In the mid-nineteenth century, Katherine Williams Upshur, a great-great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, remade her inherited seed pearl necklace into a set of four cross pendants that could be shared equally among her four children. As a deeply religious woman, Mrs. Washington would undoubtedly have approved of the selected form, and it may have been chosen with her sentiments in mind.

Description

Seed pearl cross-shaped pendant composed of three sizes of pearls; the vertical arm of the cross is composed of six seed pearl circles, each with a larger pearl in the center; the horizontal arm is composed of four seed pearl circles, each with a larger pearl in the center; atop the crossing of the arms, affixed to a mother-of-pearl backing, is a rosette composed of tiny seed pearls encircling a larger pearl, from which four smaller, pear-shaped pearls emanate diagonally; seed pearls are strung on a thread form the loop of the pendant attached to the head of the cross.

Date

c. 1852-1864


Geography


Material/Technique

Pearl, mother of pearl


Dimensions

Overall: 1 5/8 in. x 1 in. (4.14 cm x 2.54 cm)


Credit Line

Gift of Marrietta Claiborne Henderson, 1987


Object Number

W-3103


Colors (Beta)


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