Rare ‘Medusa’ pendant from St. Louis World’s Fair up for auction


ST. LOUIS – A rare piece of jewelry that was part of St. Louis history will be up for bid next week as part of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction.

Famed designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, heir to the founder of Tiffany & Company, debuted 27 pieces of jewelry at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, more commonly known as the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Louis Tiffany, who is credited with developing a special type of iridescent glass and creating the Tiffany lamp design, tried his hand in jewelry design in the early 20th century in the years leading up to the fair. Jewelry publication JCK says Tiffany’s display at the 1904 fair included 10 hair ornaments, nine brooches, three necklaces, two pendants, one girdle, one hatpin, and one tiara.

The Medusa pendant had long been considered missing for several decades but eventually turned up in the Schocken Family Collection.

The Sotheby’s website describes the pendant necklace as such:

Centering a cluster of tumbled opals, from which several stylized snake motifs emerge, the two side motifs articulated, the coiled tendrils further set with opals and round demantoid garnets, accented by colored gemstones including rubies and amethysts.

Of the 27 pieces Tiffany debuted at the fair, the pendant is one of only four still in existence.

The Medusa pendant is estimated to fetch between $100,000 and $200,000 in the auction.

The Magnificent Jewels auction takes place at Sotheby’s New York location at 9 a.m. on Dec. 7.

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