Friday, August 20, 2010

Exquisite Mid-1800s French Rosaries

Some of the most exquisite rosaries are from the period the French refer to as the Napoleon III Era. From 1848 to 1870, Napoleon III reigned and rosaries were produced using the highest quality materials. Lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, French opaline glass, banded agate and other beautiful natural materials were combined with sterling for stunning rosaries that have never been surpassed in beauty.  

The following is a serious collector rosary from The Sacred Bead. It can be found on page 11 of the antique section. Although it is approximately 150 years old it is in incredible condition and could be used for daily prayer.

From the mid-1800s, the time of Napoleon III in France and the Civil War in the United States, comes this spectacular rosary of real opaline crystal and sterling. This is an incredibly handsome rosary with the subtlety of the beads and the glow of sterling. Note the gorgeous center with Mary, Mother of God, on one side and the Crucifixion on the other. The beads and cross are translucent with a hint of yellow when held to the light. Large and impressive, the rosary measures over 23" when laid flat and the crucifix is 2", not including the bail. The cross is made of carved opaline with sterling corpus. This is the fabulous opaline glass during its most popular time period, 1850s-1860s. The previous owner of this rosary has kept it in immaculate condition. This is truly a fabulous treasure for the serious collector.
Update- this beautiful and rare rosary was stolen. Shame!

The beautiful rare lapis and sterling rosary from the mid-1800s is now in a private collection.

The opaline crystal and banded agate beaded rosary is another example from the same time period in my private collection.

Visions of Mary Our Lady of Salette

  Some of the most beautiful rosaries portray various apparitions of Mary. Although not as well known as the Apparition at Lourdes, Our Lady of Salette delivered an important message to two young children who had been tending their flocks in the French Alps.
This is a lovely antique French rosary of Our Lady of Salette, the village in the French Alps where Mary appeared to 2 children in 1846. Uniquely beautiful, this rosary has extra medals on either side of the Pater beads that depict ND de la Salette on both sides, one seated with her head in her hands and on the other, standing before the children. The most beautiful of French antique rosaries have these tiny extra medals making for an especially beautiful and meaningful rosary.The center has the same motif as the medals. Note the fleur de lis motif repeated on the crucifix, a famed symbol of France. The crucifix is marked on the reverse N D de la Salette. For those who don't know, N D stands for Notre Dame, Our Lady. Lovely pink art glass beads, most likely Czech in origin. The rosary is 21" when laid flat and quite calming in nature. 

This rosary can be purchased on The Sacred Bead, it is featured on page 16 in the Antique Rosaries section.