Niello is the art of ornamenting metal surfaces that is thought to have originated with the Egyptians and spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It is enamel-like substance made alloys of sulfur, copper, silver and lead and used as an inlay on engraved metal.
A fabulous and extravagant Niello piece from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Probably once worn as an addition on a chatelaine, this stunning piece is comprised of several silver and Niello pieces including a pocket watch. It is an exceptionally large sized piece and depicts a long clip with a twisted Niello face. At the top of the clip is a Niello flower basket which is very unusual, and hanging from the bottom is a heart shaped pocket watch. Excluding the flower basket, which has its own design, each piece is detailed with a wonderful matching Niello pattern that covers almost the entire surface. Hanging from the back of the flower basket hangs the winding tool which is used to wind the pocket watch. The piece is stamped with a silver hallmark on the underside of the clip. It's a stunning and very unusual piece and would make a great addition to any Niello collection!
Measurements: The entire piece measures approximately 4 1/2" long, a little more than 1 5/8" at the widest point, and 3/4" deep. The pocket watch measures 1 3/4" long, 1 5/8" at the widest and 3/4" deep.
Condition: The overall condition of the Niello piece is excellent. There is no apparent damage to the silver and besides normal minor surface wear, the Niello detail is in excellent condition. The back of the pocket watch opens easily and closes securely and the hinged clip is in good working condition. We are having the watched serviced and the face cleaned so it will be in excellent working condition.