Georgian "To Conquer Pirates" Intaglio Seal Fob
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A striking, extra-large, Georgian era fob, modeled in 14k yellow gold and set with a rectangular, intaglio-carved, bloodstone gem. This finely-carved wax seal features a coat of arms, atop which stands a rampant lion. This coat of arms is "impaled" to indicate a marriage. The sinister field is divided, diagonally, "party per bend—" the charge depicted in the top half of this field is an eradicated tree, the charge in the bottom half is a hippocampus (or sea-horse). The dexter field is engraved with 22 ermine pelts, and three lozenges. The motto aut conqui piratus "to conquer pirates" or "to hunt pirates" is emblazoned beneath the shield, on a curling banner. The fob's heavy, stirrup-form frame is decorated all-over with plump blossoms. This golden garden is varied, asymmetrical, beautifully and deeply carved! This fob wears beautifully as a large pendant, on a long chain, alone or layered with other meaningful pieces. We love the wonderful sea-horse, and any historical mention of pirates!
The motto and the hippocampus suggest this fob's original owner might have been a bold, sea-faring merchant, or someone responsible for defending islands from pirates. There is a long and fascinating history of piracy in the Bahamas, for example, and they call the period between 1690 and the 1720s "the golden age of piracy." On September 5, 1717, King George I issued the Proclamation for Suppressing of Pirates, which reintegrated boatloads of scoundrels into "society." We have not yet unraveled the secrets of this coat of arms, but with some further research it might give up an interesting story!
1780 - 1800
Base measures approx 25.5 mm x 21.1 mm; total height is approx 32.8 mm (about 1.3").