In this portrait, Lady Arabella Stuart, a member of the Tudor royal court, is shown wearing a hexagram, presently known as the Star of David. It is unclear from the highest resolution photograph available, but it looks like the hexagram may contain a cross as well.

There are also references to her studying, among many other languages, Hebrew. Lastly, she is described as possessing a Hebrew bible, which she used in church. Does her necklace represent a connection to Judaism, the old testament, or does it have another significance altogether?

(PS: If you have seen or live near the original portrait, could you describe the necklace in more detail?)

Can anyone shed more light on this piece of jewelry? Are there any 16th-century English portraits or documents that refer to this symbol? Or any modern historical articles that explain its appearance here?

enter image description here

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    She was a protestant. The Star of David was a mystical symbol for Christians before it became closely associated with Judaism, and studying Hebrew doesn't make someone Jewish. The mere fact that she went to church tells you as much. – Semaphore Jan 17 '16 at 20:40
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    I do not see the hexagram on the image, where it is supposed to be? – Anixx Jan 18 '16 at 4:55
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    @Semaphore OP didn't ask if she was Jewish, only if she had or developed a connection with Judaism. Being an Animé fan doesn't make one Japanese, but one will be more likely to wear Japanese culture-related items. – JMVanPelt Jan 18 '16 at 23:32
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    @JMVanPelt I modified the original question, in which I asked if she was Jewish. – rolfedh Jan 18 '16 at 23:34
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    The hexagram is also used by Mormons, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jainists and Satanists. Perhaps Lady Arabella was a closet Hindu? – CGCampbell Jan 22 '16 at 14:52

Semaphore has effectively already answered the question in the comments: the 'Star of Creation' (as it is known in a Christian context) was a symbol used by Christians as well as Jews. That said, it is somewhat unusual - I couldn't find any examples of 16th century jewellery with a star based on a quick Google ...

But there is absolutely no question of any Jewish connection. All Jews were expelled from England in 1290 after period of anti-semitism, persecution and massacre. Between then and 1655 there is almost no mention of Jews in England and it would have been simply unthinkable to openly display a symbol that identified one as Jewish. Rather, the point is that Judaism was so little known or understood in early modern England that a six pointed star simply would not have been considered as inherently 'Jewish'.

There's a slightly larger image here: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/B8XF21/lady-arabella-stuart-aged-23-months-by-anon-1577-a-portrait-at-hardwick-B8XF21.jpg

For what it's worth, I don't think star contains a crucifix, but it does seem to have a vertical bar down the middle of the design.

enter image description here

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