Necklace with a cameo of Elizabeth I

about 1890
Mrs. Philip Newman (English, 1840–1927), Georges Bissinger (Germany (working in Paris))


Height x width x depth x length: 3.8 x 3.1 x 1 x 36.5 cm (1 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 3/8 x 14 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold, silver, diamond, emerald, pearl, agate and glass

On View

Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery (Gallery 104)


Europe, Jewelry


Necklaces and neck bands

The pendant brooch hangs on a choker-length chain composed of bezel-set pearls, graduated in size, which alternate with silver-on-gold closed-prong settings of old mine-cut diamonds. These elements are connected by gold links. The necklace terminates in a gold rectangular box clasp; two rows of five tiny rose-cut diamonds are set on the top surface. The bail which attaches the pendant to the chain consists of three silver-on-gold prong-set rose-cut diamonds arranged vertically. The top diamond is larger than the two below. On the reverse is a hook which permits the pendant to detach from the chain allowing it to be worn on a longer chain.

The pendant consists of a centrally set oval agate, carved by George Bissinger with a profile image of Elizabeth I. The mount of the cameo, designed by Mrs. Philip (Charlotte) Newman, is composed of a laurel wreath border of leaf-carved emeralds each separated by rows of rose-cut diamonds, except at the top and bottom where the emeralds are divided by double rows.


Mrs. N in a rectangle on underside of clasp. "G. Bissinger" is scratched on the reverse side of the cameo.


By 1984, acquired from a private collector by Wartski, Ltd., London; 2011, sold by Wartski to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 26, 2011)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Susan B. Kaplan