The 1715 Fleet Society January 2018 Treasure of the Month is this simply outstanding gold-and–pearl “Madonna” brooch recovered in 1989 from the “Rio Mar” wreck site near Vero Beach, Florida.
This pendant features a crowned female over an angel face superimposed over an upward-facing crescent moon, all in a central open oval surrounded by twenty-two sunrays tipped with pearls.
The oval is fastened to a frame of alternating large and small five-point ornaments with more pearls on top and on ends, with a small loop at the bottom. The whole piece is suspended from a moving “crown” of similar ornaments encrusted with more pearls.
On the reverse is a large horizontal ring for wearing as a brooch or a pendant. Although referred to as a “Madonna” brooch, the central figure is more likely Our Lady of Guadalupe.
There are fifty-two remaining pearls and, as can be seen, are a bit worn. The gold is all intact and of a very high grade. From a private collection.
Text Courtesy of Daniel Frank Sedwick.