The Crowned Heart Pendant: A Symbol of Love

In 1892, a young Katherine Salting was betrothed to be married to Brigadier-General George Baillie-Hamilton, known at that time as Lord Binning. An avid art collector and niece of Victorian art connoisseur George Salting, she had been trained from a young age to admire pieces of art and, at 21 years of age, had a keen eye for beauty.

To celebrate the occasion of their wedding, the tenants of Tyninghame, Samuelston and Lennell estates gifted her a smokey quartz, ruby and pearl Crowned Heart Pendant created by Hamilton & Inches which, at that time would have been situated on Princes Street. 

The pendant was presented in a beautiful velvet case with wording, “Presented to The Lady Binning on her Marriage by the tenants on the Tyninghame, Samuelston and Lennell Eastates. September 1892.”

(c) Sotheby’s Picture Library

(c) Sotheby’s Picture Library

(c) Sotheby’s Picture Library

This particular style of pendant was popular in the late 1800s, with the heart symbolising love and the crown, loyalty. Both its case and accompanying engraved plaque have remained in beautiful condition over the past 128 years.

The level of craftsmanship shown in this piece is exceptional. Our jewellers today, based in the workshop above our showroom on George Street, use the same techniques and tools, with some differences, today. Over the years, we have created a myriad of beautiful items that are designed to be treasured. It is so lovely to hear stories of just how much they were loved.

In later life, and upon the death of her husband George, Katherine went on to fill her home, Fenton House, with a vast array of oriental china, fine works of art, furniture, tapestries and more. In her will, she bequeathed the property and many of its contents to the National Trust in 1952.

However, the most precious of items were passed on down the family line. The intricate detailing of the pearl crown coupled with the flawless smokey quartz heart is breath taking and, to Katherine, would have been a gift worth treasuring. Indeed, it became the property of her daughter-in-law, the glamorous Sarah Baillie-Hamilton, Countess of Haddington, who kept the precious item in her jewellery case until her death in 1995. A fellow lover of the arts, Sarah was one of the founders of the Edinburgh International Festival, which we are sure Katherine would have loved to have been a part of.

This beautiful pendant went to auction at Sotheby’s on the 7th of April for the price of £5000.00.