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Sri Lankan Gilded Silver Necklace set with Rubies & other Gems

Sri Lanka
early to mid-20th century

length of pendant: 14cm, overall weight: 61.31



UK art market

This fine and striking necklace is of gilded (gold-plated silver) and with a gold chain. It is in the form of a large central parrot (girava) in flight with two other parrots on each side, each separated by a jewelled spacer.

The pendent is set with dozens of rubies or pink sapphires, quartz, topaz and other gems.

The motifs and settings are typically Sri Lankan (most probably from the Low Country), dating to the first part of the twentieth century.  Birds – parrots and others – are a motif that occurs frequently in Sri Lankan art, and particularly in the jewellery, in pendants designed for both men and women typically worn by the nobles.

The pendant here is stable and wearable. The silver used is heavy, thick and robust. The circumference of the chain, however, is small and might need to be added to, to be worn comfortably. The pendant opens at the front – there is a small catch between one of the ancillary birds and the rest of the pendant, rather than the chain opening at the back.


Coomaraswamy, A.K., Mediaeval Sinhalese Art, Pantheon Books, 1956 reprint of the 1908 edition.

Wimalaratne, K.D.G. & D. Gomes, Costumes of Sri Lanka, 2001.

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