Gold Reliquary Pendant, Shipwreck: Margarita 1622. Recovered in 2009Estimate $40,000 – $60,000. Photo Guernsey's.

This reliquary or relicario, a small devotional talisman, may have belonged to a passanger on the Santa Margarita. Reliquaries were used quite often in the New World. Passengers on ships heading to the America's were forced to pack lightly; wearing a small reliquary locket with a religious image, a saint's relic,or a small momento from a loved one, in order to feel connected to one's faith and home was not unusual. "The miniature painting style of relicario is the type that was recovered from the Santa Margarita, and while we cannot make out what the original painting would have been the gold foil of the nimbus or 'halo' that once surrounded the figures is still there. As a class these miniatures were so finely painted that often the artist used a single horse hair as a brush. In the New World soldiers and travelers wore them as protection and missionaries used them to help explain religious stories and gave them as special presents to converts. Over time these reliquaries became a fashionable item of jewelry for the wealthy Spanish as it displayed their individual piety for all the world to see. They also represented an accepted evasion to the Crowns sumptuary laws which forbade the wearing of ostentatious jewelry." (James Sinclair)

Guernsey'sThe Mel & Deo Fisher Collection - August 5