This religious medallion or metal is from the Santa Barbara Mission in Italy founded in 1786. The front of the metal shows St. Barbara in her classic pose holding a chalice and palm frond. On the back is the Santa Barbara Mission in Grazie di Curtatone. There is a sister mission in Santa Barbara California.
The medallion is made of metal and looks like alpaca alloy although it has no marks as to content. It is 1 inch long not counting the ring baile. Condition is fine but it is preowned. I have had it 15 years at least.
St. Barbara's legend goes back to the 3rd century A.D. when her father beheaded her for becoming a Catholic. He was a pagan and was struck by lightning and burned up on his way home. Nothing was written about her however until the 7th century. In 1969 Pope Paul VI removed her from the Catholic liturgical calendar because of the lack of proof of her legend.
St. Barbara is still popular, particularly in the Orthodox church. She is the patron saint of miners, mathematicians, military engineers and those dealing with explosives. She is one of the 14 holy helpers.