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High quality gold Victorian bracelet in damascene or zougan or shakudo technique

This stunning Victorian bracelet from 1890 is composed out of a series of eight panels, which most likely depict several Japanese stories through high quality craftsmanship of shakudo -a Japanese art technique of inlay work of various colours of 18K gold. These miniature gold bas-reliefs are mounted in European frames of flower hedges. The only way to bring these meticulous sceneries back to life to tell their tales is by wearing this astonishing jewel.

Antique jewelry object group: bracelet

Condition: excellent condition
  -  (more info on our condition scale)

Country of origin: unknown

Style: Victorian - Victorian decorative arts refers to the style of decorative arts during the Victorian era. The Victorian era is known for its eclectic revival and interpretation of historic styles and the introduction of cross-cultural influences from the middle east and Asia in furniture, fittings, and Interior decoration. Victorian design is widely viewed as having indulged in a regrettable excess of ornament. The Arts and Crafts movement, the aesthetic movement, Anglo-Japanese style, and Art Nouveau style have their beginnings in the late Victorian era.
  -  See also: Victorian or more info on styles

Style specifics: The Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period - Experts divide the reign of Queen Victoria, also called The Victorian era (1837-1901) into three periods of about twenty years each; The Romantic Victorian Period (1837 - 1860), The Grand Victorian Period (1860 - 1880), and the Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period (1880 - 1901).

We consider this to be of The Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period.

Jewelry of this period is changing back from heavy to more smaller, romantic pieces with often whimsical motifs. Jewelers using diamonds and bright gemstones in elaborated and fine feminine pieces.

Technique: These panels are Japanese shakudo, (also called 'damascening' or 'zougan') a well-known technique. They were imported from Japan and mounted in Europe into all sorts of decorative objects, but mostly jewelry. Japonaiserie became highly fashionable in England, and elsewhere in Europe, 1875/1885, in England when Arthur Lazenby Liberty, the founder of the famous Liberty store, visited Japan and brought back fabrics, ceramics and metalware, which caused a fashion craze that was reflected in furniture and furnishings and all the decorative arts, and inspired Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera ‘The Mikado’. See Vivienne Becker’s ‘Antique & Twentieth Century Jewellery’ (with many thanks to Ian Harris for this explanation).

Shakudo is the art of inlaying different metals into one another—typically, gold or silver into a darkly oxidized steel background—to produce intricate patterns similar toniello. The English term comes from a perceived resemblance to the rich tapestry patterns of damask silk.

The technique has a long history in Japan, where it was used to decorate katana (sword) fittings, particularly tsuba. Known as zougan in Japanese, it has developed its own subset of terms to describe the particular patterns, although "shippou-zougan" is an enamelling technique which most Westerners would consider closer to champlevé.

Damascened-inlay jewelry, especially of Japanese origin, is sometimes referred to as shakudo from the use of that alloy as the dark background.

Cities that are known for a rich history in Damascening where the technique is still practiced are Malaysia, Indonesia, Toledo, Spain, Eibar, Basque Country and Kyoto, Japan. (from: Wikipedia)

Period: ca. 1890
  -  (events and facts in 1890)

Source of inspiration: Japanese sceneries (and perhaps fairy tales?)

Material: 18K quadruple-color (red, yellow, green, white) gold in (most probably) silver
  -  (more info on precious metals)

Hallmarks: The only mark we could find was one with the letters "S.M.". We presume this to be the mastermark. We couldn't find any other marks on the bracelet.
  -  (more info on hallmarks)

Dimensions: length 18,70 cm (7,36 inch), width 2,30 cm (0,91 inch)

Weight: 50,10 gram (32,21 dwt)

Reference Nº: 14360-0077

Copyright photography: Adin, fine antique jewelry

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High quality gold Victorian bracelet in damascene or zougan or shakudo technique
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