Untitled Jewelry Piece (Clarice's Doom), 1480s
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Medicea Accademia Dell'Arte Occulta




Catalog Identification: 0006-[FL]

'Untitled Jewelry Piece (Clarice's Doom)'

Artist Unknown

Italy, 1488

Materials: Gilded Marten or Weasel Head, Inlaid with Rubies, Emeralds and Pearls

Location: Florentine Academy, Italy

Exhibition History:

Florentine Academy, 1688-1942; 1976-Present: Displayed in the Occultic Jewelry wing, Second Floor.

Occult Properties:

Item bears a curse or enchantment which targets pregnant women. If a woman who is at least three months pregnant is exposed for a period of one month, the piece and any attached material, will animate and attempt to penetrate the closest ear, or else the mouth. The head is propelled by an occultic force, but can be wrestled away.

Upon entering the head, it will attempt to penetrate through the skull and enter the brain, whereupon it will consume all matter. Death occurs over the course of several hours, usually due to the destruction of the medulla.

Originally, it was believed that this item was cursed specifically to target a single individual; this has since been discredited.


During the Renaissance, martens, weasels and other mustelids were considered symbols of childbirth and fertility, and were thought to mate through the ear or mouth, thus giving chaste birth. A piece such as this was intended to be worn on the end of a marten's pelt, and was worn as such by Clarice Orsini, wife of our founder Lorenzo de Medici.


Clarice Orsini

Given to Clarice as a peace offering by an unknown, likely illegitimate member of the Pazzi line, this piece ultimately resulted in her death. In 1488, Orsini was pregnant with her eleventh child, a fact which was known only to Lorenzo and a handful of family members and friends. Approximately three months into her pregnancy, Orsini began bleeding from her right ear, the same side upon which this piece was worn.

On 29 July 1488, Clarice Orsini collapsed while having dinner with her husband. Lorenzo wrote:

The coat over her shoulder had animated, and its head had burrowed into her ear. She screamed and convulsed, and even as our attendants tried to pull out the accursed garment, the head screeched and sank further in.
Clarice screamed in pain for our child as the physician was called. He almost vomited at the sight of her ear— it was gaping, hollowed out, and he could see to her brain. Clarice, slowly, faded. As far as could be told, she did not feel pain. She simply stopped breathing, after a time.

It has been ten years since the Pazzi were dealt with, and now one of their bastards does this. It shall end.

Publicly, Orsini's death was attributed to tuberculosis. Any evidence of her unborn child went undocumented outside of Lorenzo's private journals. The fate of the "Pazzi Bastard" is largely unknown, but in late 1488, a house near Flori caught fire, killing a jeweler with ties to the Pazzi.


1488: Given to Clarice Orsini

August 1488: Placed into the storage of the Florentine Academy. Lorenzo mandates that it not be put on display for at least two-hundred years.

1942: Thought to be lost following Allied bombing of the Florentine Academy.

1976: Found in Naples, used in the murder of at least two women in a manner identical to Orsini, proving its properties were indiscriminate. Suspect apprehended by authorities and turned over to the Foundation. After a brief period of study, the item was returned to the Academy.

Note from Tutor A.L., 2019: This is a valuable (and dangerous) piece. The inaugural item of Occultic Jewelry within the Florentine Academy, it was feared to be a target in the recent break-in. Thankfully, security measures held, and the Occultic Jewelry wing went untouched.
The Goliath is the item of greater concern. We believe that its rival may be targeted as well.

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