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This opulent pendant is shaped like a hippocamp – a mythological sea-horse. The name comes from the Greek ἵππος (horse) and κάμπος (monster) and it’s commonly shown with a horse’s front and fish-like hindquarters. This mythical creature has also given its name to the hippocampus in the brain, due to its similar shape!
This jewel was probably made in Paris in the early 19th century, but it is modelled on jewels made in the 16th century. It’s made of enamelled gold, emeralds and pearls.
You can see more objects like this in our Waddesdon Bequest Gallery – catch up with our #FacebookLive broadcast from the gallery in which Curator Dora Thronton introduces some of its treasures: facebook.com/britishmuseum #gold#jewels#jewellery#pearls#emerald#hippocamp#mythical#mythological#Paris#seahorse#BritishMuseum#Live#London
The emerald tree boa is a non-venomous species of snake that inhabits the rainforests of South America! They obviously get their name from their distinctive emerald coloration, but they also have white “lightning bolt” stripes across its back. You can see this boa coiled on a tree branch, which is the stance they will assume when waiting to ambush prey!