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Silver pendant, possibly worn to identify hospital patients, France, 1800-1890

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Patients of the Marseille Hospice in France during the 1800s reputedly wore this tiny pendant as a form of identification. It is made of silver and engraved on the reverse are the words ‘HOSPICE DE MARSEILLES’ and the number 1207. This is possibly a patient identification number. On the front is a head and shoulders image of a saint-like figure. His head is covered in a cap and mounted with a halo. The pendant was made by an unknown artist.

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Glossary: pendant

Hanging articles of jewellery, usually suspended from a necklace, but also includes Renaissance examples fastened to the sleeve often worn as decorative ornaments; can also be an article of devotional, magical, or mourning jewelry which then may sometimes be concealed under clothing.

Glossary: hospital

An institution providing health care for individuals. This usually takes the form of medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for ill or injured people

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