Silver and dark blue enamel pendant with Viking ship. The prow is facing forwards, and has a lion carved on it. Inset markings on the reverse of AR and IONA in separate rectangles. Early 1920s, with original suspension loop. A beautiful piece of Ritchie enamelled silverwork. Photo courtesy J. Michaud.

Rare variant of the above pendant, using purple/lilac enamel. The most pendants with this design were made with blue enamel (turquoise or cobalt), very occasional green enamel ones also being made, but in 6 years this is the first lilac one I have seen. Possibly an experiment ? From Ritchie's early 'unhallmarked silver' period, the reverse just stamped with recessed IONA and conjoined AR.

Silver pendant necklace featuring Viking ship, prow facing forwards. Six lozenge-shaped decorated silver spacers interspersed on the chain, decorated on both sides. This pendant is pierced, unlike some of the later ones of this design which are solid and have a coloured enamel background (usually cobalt blue). The necklace has a hook and eye clasp and measures 23 inches in length. The pendant itself is 1.5 inches long. The early markings are AR and IONA within separate rectangles. A rare and beautiful pendant, no hallmark. c.1915. The last picture above shows an enlargement of one of the six silver foliate-design spacers on this fine pendant.

Silver pendant by Alexander Ritchie depicting a Viking longship. The design is taken from one of the medieval carved stones on Iona. Hallmarked for Glasgow 1928, and marks of AR IONA with a further impressed 'spectacle mark' of AR.

Unique sterling silver pendant 4cms diameter, with high-relief reverse lettering WMC - 1919. Possibly connected with Maude Cheape, the 'Squire' of Bentley, and one of her sons? (See Maude Cheape MMC medal under the "Other items" section). Plain equi-armed cross interspersed with knotwork patterning. Marks of AR and IONA. No hallmark. Has its original ovoid silver suspension loop.

Small and beautiful silver pendant by Alexander Ritchie/Iain MacCormick. This was and is a personal favourite of pilgrims to Iona, having the Gaelic inscription on the reverse which reads "Iona of my heart, Iona of my love" - being the first lines of St Columba's Iona prophecy, (which ends with the words "Ere the world come to an end, Iona shall be as it was.") The wording of the inscription on this particular example is curious, as Alec Ritchie himself used the correct Gaelic spelling I MO CHRIDHE - I MO GHRADH. Possibly one of his outworkers at the end of the ICA period, or perhaps Iain MacCormick in the 1940s abbreviated it to the above spelling, which has been continued to this day by silversmiths on Iona and elsewhere, despite being grammatically incorrect. I wonder if there are other variants too? If you know of any please email us. Due to the small size of this pendant and its symmetrical design, it was one of the very few silver pieces never marked/hallmarked by Ritchie or Iain MacCormick, so exactly when the Gaelic lettering was shortened may never be known. Any example with the spelling shown in this text is definitely by Ritchie himself. The example shown above is either by one of Ritchie's outworkers, or made on Iona by Iain MacCormic or CAI in the 1940s/early 50s. Whichever inscription is present, these are delightful and highly meaningful little pendants, treasured by anyone fortunate enough to own one. Below is an original Alexander Ritchie example with the correct Gaelic spelling.

Very attractive silver and turquoise blue pendant, with a panel of knotwork at the base, and two intertwined birds heads at the top. A longship in full sail is in the centre. The reverse has marks of ICA and Birmingham hallmark for 1937. A very beautiful piece.

Rare, possibly one-off and very early St Martin's Cross silver pendant by Alexander Ritchie. No hallmark. Dark, uncleaned patina. Marked AR IONA at the foot of the cross. The edge has a registration mark stamped on it. Height approx 1.5". Most unusual, with Celtic knot and wording in the reverse. This turned up in the depths of the USA, no doubt carried back there by an inspired visitor to Iona many years ago.

Very unusual silver and enamel double-sided pendant with IONA and a longship in full sail on the front, and swastika with arms facing the correct ancient way (not the modern corruption) on the reverse. Interlaced birds are at the top around the suspension loop. No hallmarks, but definitely from the Iona Ritchie school. Diameter approx 1.25".


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© 2004 by David James