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Very Beautiful, Very Wearable

Antique Mid 19th Century Victorian

Double Sided 9K Gold Maltese Cross Pendant w/ Rubies

c. 1850s-70

The Maltese Cross, or St. John's Cross, was the emblem of the Knights Hospitallers, a military and religious order originating at the Hospital of St John in Jerusalem in the 11th Century. Their original mission was to care for those on pilrimages to the Holy Land. Eventually, they became quite powerful and wealthy and were headquartered on the island of Malta.

One story has it that the cross became popular as jewelry when one was given to Lady Hamilton, (mistress of Vice Admiral, Lord Horatio Nelson), by Alexander, Tzar of Russia, for her charitable works on Malta. In any case, over the years it showed up in various emblems and coats of arms across Europe, and was particularly popular in England during the mid 19th century. Victoria eventually incorporated it into a medal awarded for valor in both civilian
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