The Fettercairn Jewel – £190,000 at Sotheby’s.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Sotheby’s had guided the 2in (5cm) pendant at £30,000- 50,000 only to see bidding go to £190,000 as part of the Two Great Scottish Collections sale on March 28.

Delicately enamelled in the basse taille technique and set with a large almandine garnet, it was believed to protect the wearer from lightning bolts and the plague.

The jewel bears a close stylistic similarity to the so-called Darnley or Lennox jewel in the Royal Collection. The enamelling (particularly of the figure Mercury on the Fettercairn and the swordsman on the Darnley jewel) suggests both were by the same, probably Scottish, craftsman c.1570-80.

The pendant was sold as part of the auction of items from Fettercairn House amassed over centuries by the Forbes of Pitsligo. From the same source was a pair of Italian white marble vases on 3ft 11in (1.2m) high plinths c.1790- 1830 sold to a UK dealer at £230,000. They are thought to have been bought by the 7th Baronet, Sir William Forbes during his 1827 grand tour.

With more than 1000 participants, the sale – including 70 lots from the collection of the Marquesses of Lothian – raised a hammer total of just over £3m for the 486 lots.