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Miosach Mother & Child Brooch / Pendant
8 x 6mm oval cabochon moonstone
Metal: Sterling silver
Size: 39mm high by 25.5mm wide
This sterling silver piece of jewellery can be worn as a brooch or a pendant. The design is derived from the Miosach book shrine and details of the shrine are inscribed on the back of the piece. The figures are believed to represent the crowned Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. It comes with a 55cm long sterling silver medium-weight cable chain. Designed and made by Faller, it is packaged in our Miosach Shrine gift box.
About the Miosach Shrine
This ornate book shrine comes from Clonmany, Inishowen, which was once a thriving monastic settlement. The prominent O’Morrison family were known as the Keepers of the Miosach as their ancestors were said to be the servants of Colmcille.
A block of yew wood was hollowed out to create a protective storage case for a religious manuscript thought to have been written by St. Colmcille himself. The wood was then covered with a series of decorative bronze panels. The sides panels were inlaid with silver and enamel. The back of the shrine was intricately pierced out with a repeating cross pattern which was highlighted with red enamel. These are thought to date from the late 11th century.
The elaborate front panel is decorated with silver foil and polished oval rock crystals. It was engraved with the words ‘Brian Mac Brian O’Muirguissan covered me anno 1534’. Four large panels with the same design feature three figures, who are believed to represent St. Bridget, St. Patrick and St. Colmcille. The first figure appears to be a female wearing a flowing robe and standing upon a serpent. She holds an ornate book in her left hand, while her right-hand holds a staff topped with a cross. The central figure wearing a vestment with a distinctive high collar is bearded and tonsured. His left hand is raised in benediction and his right-hand holds a crozier. The final figure with a mitre upon his head is seated. His left hand is also raised in benediction and his right-hand holds a staff topped with a cross.
A crucifixion figure of our Lord without the cross is positioned above the largest, centrally placed rock crystal and flanked by two smaller panels which are believed to be the crowned Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. These panels are repeated below the central rock crystal.
This rare and beautiful artefact is a unique relic from Inishowen’s monastic history. It can now be viewed at the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin.
Moonstone is a birthstone for June, along with pearl and alexandrite. Follow the link to find out more about this beautiful gem.