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A George III Diamond Set Anchor Pendant, 1795

Gold, diamonds, enamels and pearl. In the form of an English made anchor decorated in blue and white enamels, set at intervals with cushion-shaped diamonds and supporting a pearl drop, with diamond set pendant loop. Dimensions overall: 51mm (2in) x 36mm (1.4in).

The British naval victories of the 1790s - The Glorious First of June (1794), St Vincent (1797), Camperdown (1797) and The Nile (1798) - sparked a fashion for jewellery designed as patriotic ‘favours’. After The Battle of the Nile, ‘The Morning Post and Gazeteer’ reported that 'The Ladies in compliment to our naval victories, sport the golden anchor, which suspended by a chain, rests on the bosom'. The wife of the British ambassador at Naples, Emma Lady Hamilton, reported that ‘my shawl is in Blue, with gold anchors all over. My earrings are Nelson’s anchors, in short we are be-Nelsoned all over’.

The collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich holds several gold anchors, some engraved with the name of a victory and some mounted on a blue and white naval ribbon for wear in imitation of the neck ribbon display the Naval Gold Medal, instituted in 1793 and awarded to senior officers following high-profile actions. The enamelling on the present diamond anchor matches these naval colours whilst the use of a single pearl recalls the sea.
 

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