Sunday, November 6, 2011

Exquisite Bavarian Six Decade Filigree Rosary

Antique Bavarian rosaries are some of the most incredible rosaries ever produced and are highly collectible. They are unique to this region of Germany, and what truly sets them apart is the gorgeous filigree silverwork. (I have seen silver filigree work called spun silver by some antique and vintage jewelry dealers.)
These are generally strung rosaries, although some of them are linked. They have been produced for hundreds of years and are still produced in much the same manner today. Note the distinctive crucifix of filigree with an inlaid enameled cross set into the silver. Bavarian rosaries from the 1700s and early 1800s sometimes have a simple inset cross made of wood and mother of pearl. This rosary most likely dates from the late 1800s. Above the large cross, you'll almost always find a Credo cross, smaller and simpler in design. Although many of the rosaries are five decades, most are six. Over the years, these rosaries are strung and resturng- so the age cannot be determined by the stinging material. Beads also get replaced as the rosaries break and beads are lost- it is quite common to find slightly mismatched beads making up part of the rosary. The tiny spacer beads between each Ave bead are also commonly replaced after a rosary breaks and many of the tiny beads are lost. The German word for rosary is rosenkranz, and it does not refer simply to Bavarian rosaries, rather all rosaries. Using the word does not mean the rosary is old or new, simply German. Just as chapelet is the French word for rosary, whether antique or modern.
This beautiful rosary can be found on Antiques page 12 on The Sacred Bead. Antique Bavarian rosaries are increasingly difficult to find and are true, high-end collector rosaries. (This beautiful rosary is now in a private collection.)

 Main filigree cross with inset enameled cross, note the smaller Credo cross above and the little dangle at the bottom of the main cross.
 Six decades with filigree Pater beads.
 Exceptional filigree work!

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