Jewel of the day: Man in the moon pendant

These are typically carved out of moonstone and show a serene, smiling and almost Buddha like face. It’s possible that the “moon” in moonstone inspired the whimsical association. It could be the fascination with Wilkie Collins’s “The Moonstone” or Jules Verne’s fanciful writing – the cavings were particularly popular just before the turn of the 19th century.

I came across this gold face pendant in an antiques shop in Montreal. The gold isn’t marked, but if I recall correctly, the chain is one karat and the pendant is a higher karat. No hallmarks makes it tough to know where it originated. What’s really interesting about it is that one side has the typically smiling “man in the moon” face. But flip it over and the man is scowling. I joked that maybe it was an early, primitive precursor of the sixties’ mood rings.

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