The pendant had belonged first to Lord Byron, who had given it as a gift to his half-sister Augusta Lee; it is described in a section of the first edition of Manfred the Magician which was removed from subsequent drafts, according to records on file at the Oxford Library. It was “silver dull with ruby eye, affixed like fire atop night’s sky, the heart of angels so it’s told, who upon falling grew stiff and cold. Yet base metal their protests cry, can love no less than flesh that dies.”
According to the diary of a friend who mentioned the incident, Augusta-Leigh in turn gave it to a dealer in fabric and opium upon her brother’s death.
We can trace it from there because of the records of a pawn shop which were taken in to evidence by police as part of a murder investigation in 1906 and preserved in the Kings Crossing Station until its demolition in the blitz and subsequent move, at which time the records were kept in vault 665 of the Museum of the Royal London Historical Society.
The Pendant, sometimes referred to as “The Heart of Azmodeus,” was sold to Charles Wooster, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, in 1902. After his death in the trenches of World War 1 (he was shot in the back while running from enemy machine gun fire), his widow Cathleen gave if to their daughter upon her marriage to a Viennese industrialist in 1923. The factory was seized by the Nazis after it refused a purchase offer from the IG Farben cartel in 1941, and repurposed towards the war effort making synthetic gasoline for trucks running to and from the concentration camps. The industrialist, Herman Wolkigan, committed suicide after his children were arrested on suspicion of harboring Jews, and the The Heart of Azmodeus, according to a report kept on file in the SS Berlin office and since kept in the Geneva archives, was found in a drawer next to his pistol. But the pendant itself was never made it to Geneva.
Historians are unclear how it migrated from the Nazi SS to the hands of Benjamin Winter, a notorious consultant to the makers of the so-called African “blood wines,” but it was found in a cigar box in his study. His will specifically leaves it to “Elspeth, and only Elspeth,” but his executor could find no evidence of any such person in his life, and so it was appraised as part of an effort to catalog the many ambiguities of his life that remained, and its origin discovered.
It was purchased by Trinity College Cambridge as part of its Byron collection, and now resides in a glass case next to a portrait of Augusta Lee in which she wears it. It covers her breast, having outlasted her real heart by almost 200 years.
It is being displayed at the All Worlds Fair by special arrangement.