French regional jewellery - Auvergne



The regional jewellery from Auvergne is based on enamelled crosses and Holy Spirit pendants of varying shapes, depending on the exact area of production and use.  The crosses always had three drop-shaped pendants hanging from the arms and the base which represented the tears of Christ who was said to have wept three times.  These tears are sometimes missing from the crosses and it is likely that they were removed by their owners either to keep up with fashion or to balance out the design when one of them was lost. 

The Holy Spirit pendants are very stylised and in some cases, such as those from Briode or Clermont Ferrand, they look more like crosses and it is possible that they indeed evolved from crosses.  These crosses are set with garnets and sometimes with citrines which are backed with foil.  The foil is generally embellished with a red spot in the centre, and this gives the citrine a colour which changes according to the angle from which it is viewed.

The "esclavage" or slave necklaces from Auvergne tend to have rectangular plaques, often with openwork and decorated with filigree, quite different from those of Normandy where oval plaques tend to predominate.



 Auvergne cross,
gold and strass

Aurillac Holy Spirit pendant,
gold, enamel and strass

Holy Spirit pendant or cross from
Clermont Ferrand, gold and garnets


Holy Spirit pendant from Brioude, with its rose of Velay suspension, both in gold set with garnets
also called "croix de Brioude"




Léon Giron (1839-1914), "La dentellière d'Espaly", Musée Crozatier, Le Puy en Velay
necklace with Holy Spirit pendant, earrings, rings and a chatelaine on the chair



Velay cross, gold

Velay cross, gold

Velay cross, gold



Thomas Degeorge 1786 - 1854 - Paysanne assise, 1852
with the kind permission of the museum of art Roger-Quilliot [MARQ], town of Clermont-Ferrand




Holy Spirit pendant from Le Puy
en Velay, very thin gold and


cross from Puy en Velay,
gold, blue enamel and garnet
 the three drop-shaped pendants
represent the tears of Christ

Holy Spirit of Aurillac
pendant,  silver and enamel




 Holy Spirit necklace from Le Puy en Velay, gold, enamel and garnet
note the two different plaques - quite possibly purchased separately after the births of children



cross from Le Puy en Velay
gold and enamel

Auvergne cross
gold and enamel

cross from Le Puy en Velay
gold and enamel (tears missing)



Auvergne cross/pendant in gold and garnets




  rose of Velay pendant, gold and glass
(suspension loop and drop is missing)

  rose of Velay pendant
gold and glass (suspension loop is missing)



esclavage (slave) necklace, gold and enamel



esclavage (slave) necklace, gold



gold cross from Puy en Velay with four enamelled plates, probably offered with the birth of each child
(the tear-drop pendants on the cross are missing and were perhaps removed when they became old fashioned or to balance out the design when one was lost



cross from Le Puy en Velay,
gold and enamel, obverse

cross from Le Puy en Velay,
gold and enamel, reverse




Aurillac Holy Spirit pendant,
gold, enamel and glass
Holy Spirit from Aurillac, gold, enamel and glass
Aurillac Holy Spirit pendant, 
gold, enamel and glass




Auvergne cross, gold and enamel

cross from Le Puy en Velay with chain

Auvergne cross, gold and glass



Coiffe pins in Auvergne



coiffe pin in gold




coiffe pin in gold





the chain catches from Auvergne are quite distinctive, with a flattened barrel form



 chain catches from Auvergne


Around the town of Aurillac, the Holy Spirit pendants are still worn by many women and they are sold in most jewellery shops.  They are usually set with citrines on a coloured foil base which changes the colour of the citrine depending on the angle at which it is viewed.  The gold is very thin on the old Holy Spirit pendants and the enamel is thus generally found to be damaged.  It is said that extra sliders or plaques for the crosses and pendants were offered to women to mark the birth of each child.


lacemaker from Le Puy en Velay with Velay rose pendant on chain



lacemaker from Le Puy en Velay Velay with rose pendant on chain and scissors son a silver clip



French folk dress from Auvergne


  French folk dress from Royat


French folk dress from Thiers, Auvergne with Holy Spirit pendant on ribbon



French folk-dress from Latour, Auvergne



antique and elaborate hair-wear from Le Puy en Velay, Auvergne


folk-dress from le Mont Doré, Auvergne


Contact me with your suggestions, corrections, photos, questions and comments!




croix écotée - pendentif Saint Esprit - Saint Esprit d'Aurillac - rose de Velay - collier d'esclavage - croix de Puy en Velay  - croix de Brioude - Saint Esprit de Brioude - croix d'Auvergne - bijoux d'Auvergne - bijoux auvergnat - collier Saint Esprit de Puy en Velay - rose de Velay - croix de Velay - croix auvergnate - bijoux d'Auvergne et du Velay - costume regional - bijoux régionaux - coiffes - coiffe auvergnat - bijoux des régions de France - bijoux régionaux - les bijoux traditionnels Français - croix régionales - Léon Giron - esclavage auvergnat - Saint Esprit d'Aurillac - Saint Esprit auvergnat - Thomas Degeorge - Léon Giron - costume régional auvergnat - bijoux des régions de France -Bijoux d'Auvergne et du Velay - Orfèvrerie profane et sacrée par Marcel Astruc - antieke zeeuwse streeksieraden - streeksieraden in zeeland friesland


French regional jewellery - Auvergne