This pendant is a faithful copy of the jewel worn by St Cecilia in Raphael's painting of 1514, La Sacra Conversazione, in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, and the inscription suggests the pendant was a special commission for a woman named Cecilia.
The use of paintings as a source for jewellery design was extremely rare in Italy, and reflects the continuing practice in Europe of the historical revival, in this instance working to a Renaissance style. In 1898 the society '?milia Ars' was set up in Bologna to improve the standards of artistic design. Alfonso Rubbiani was its most important designer. The society not only provided designs and models for furniture, porcelain, embroidery and metalwork, but also carried out the production of these items. Luigi Marchi (1824-1906) is known to have run his workshop from 1854 to 1888, followed by his son Raffaelle Angelo (1855-1909).