Mother-of-Pearl “M” Monogram Gaming Counter Mystic Labradorite Necklace - L'offre III 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 has found new life as the centerpiece of this sophisticated necklace - sparkling mystic labradorite rondelles are juxtaposed with creamy freshwater pearls stationed along the chain. This Mother-of-Pearl pendant is completely reversible and just as beautiful on the opposing side with a Chinese hatched diaper pattern, as on the delicate and unique “M” monogrammed side. This particular game counter is in very good condition, but the fact it has survived in such pristine condition for over 200 years is truly remarkable.
19.25 inches long (counter 2.54 inches X .87 inches).