Antique Chinese Game Counter Peridot Baroque Pearls Multi Strand Necklace - Le Jeton II “M” Necklace
During the early 1700’s, wealthy European families commissioned Chinese artisans to make finely engraved sets of mother-of-pearl gaming counters for use in parlor games such as Ombre, Quadrille, Loo and Whist. Starting with simple Chinese designs of flowers and birds, the engravings became more complex with time, often using family crests, monograms, or even coats -of-arms of royal European families. Even the wife of George III, Queen Charlotte, had her own set of counters and it is rumored that King George had to confiscate them as she habitually lost so much money! This commerce continued until 1840, when the games fell from fashion. The shells were ground flat, shaped, polished and engraved - all nearly 300 years ago, and all by hand! The particular large mollusk that provided these large flat shells was hunted to extinction to supply this trade. This beautiful and delicately carved Chinese gaming counter (circa 1820) has found a new life as the centerpiece of an equally delicate necklace of sparkling peridot and freshwater baroque pearls. Safely suspended in a twist wire frame of 14k gold, this pendant is just as beautiful on the opposing side as the stunning script monogrammed “M” side. Size: 18 inches long.