This opulent gem-set gold necklace is symbolic of the important role played by jewellery in Moroccan marriage ritual. Produced in the eighteenth century and worn by both Muslim and Jewish brides, these lebbas, or jewelled gold ceremonial necklaces with pendants were designed to cover the entire chest area, and would have been complemented with additional large earrings, bracelets and in some instances a crown. Most probably produced in Fez, influences in the shape and design of this necklace can be traced to medieval forms imported into Morocco through both the Jewish and Arab communities that migrated from Spain. A similar necklace is in the Museum of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco (inv. no. D 3705).
For an image illustrating a Moroccan woman wearing a traditional outfit with a similar necklace, see: V. Gonzalez, Emaux d'al-Andalus et du Maghreb, Édisud, Aix-en-Provence, France, 1994, p.185, no.138. Similar lebbas, of slightly varied designs, were sold in these rooms, Arts of the Islamic World, 9th April 2014, lot 201 and 25th April 2012, lot 658 and a very high price achieved at Christie’s, Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, 17th April 2007, lot 324.