Well paired long silver skeleton wax seal dangle earrings ... memento mori jewelry
- description -
The interesting full size wax seal depicts an oval in the center which reads, in Latin, SPES MIHI SUMMUM BONUM SCHONDEL with the initials JFA.
A skeleton and a woman holding a bird leaning on a large anchor flanking the oval.
An hour glass, a rake and a scythe, a wheat sheaf are engraved under the oval.
At the top is a ribbon tied into a bow.
- symbolism -
In heraldry, a skeleton is symbolic of mortality.
My best research shows that it once belonged to a widow, the oval center shield suggests this, along with the facts that she is leaning on a large anchor, symbolic of hope, and the skeleton where I presume her husband used to be.
I believe the rest of the iconography suggest memento mori - along with the skeleton, an hourglass and grave diggers tools were common symbols of memento mori and death during the Georgian era. A scythe was commonly associated with the Grim Reaper as a symbol of death because of its use to cut down the harvest (reap) and the seal depicts both the scythe and the wheat sheaf harvest.
The ribbon tied into a bow may be symbolic of something but further research is required.
The Latin SPES MIHI translates I HOPE and SUMMUM BONUM translates HIGHEST GOOD so it is presumed that SPES MIHI SUMMUM BONUM translates I HOPE FOR THE HIGHEST GOOD.
SCHONDEL could be the surname.
Hand cast from a large, heavy steel Georgian era (1714 - 1830) desk wax seal.
The seal itself is the largest in my collection, old steel weighing in at 7.4 ounces with a matrix that measures almost 1 5/8" x 1 1/2"
- approximate wax seal measurement - 7/8" x 1/4" (22mm x 8mm)
- photographed next to an old US dime for reference to size
- wax seal charm metal - sterling silver (.925 silver)
- ear wires - sterling silver
- little plugs are included on the ear wires - don't lose an earring!
Impressed with history!