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Antique MOP Gaming Token & Labradorite Necklace - L'offre Necklace

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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 has found new life as the centerpiece of this sophisticated necklace - beautiful hand-linked mystic labradorite juxtaposed with creamy freshwater baroque pearls flanking brushed gold vermeil quatrefoils. Safely suspended in a twist wire frame of 14k gold, this Mother-of-Pearl pendant is completely reversible and just as beautiful on the opposing side (with it’s minuscule diaper pattern) as on the delicate floral side. This particular game counter is in very good condition, but it is not unusual to see signs of wear in these antiques, indicative of age and use, but does not diminish the beauty of these unique re-purposed counters. Size: 18.25” long