Victorian Cut Steel + Painted Porcelain Gilded Cufflinks
Cut steel jewelry originated in England in the 17th century and subsequently spread throughout Europe, eventually becoming a popular style of jewelry worn by members of high society during the Victorian era. Made of polished faceted steel studs, the pieces were cut by hand and then assembled and riveted onto a metal back. The faceted steel elements give this type of jewelry a subtle, metallic glitter that resembles cut gemstones. Motifs varied from the simple to the sublime, with multiple layers and densely packed studs. The time-consuming process and the artistry required to create cut steel jewelry made it very valuable and highly sought-after during the Victorian age, particularly to wear during the stage of "secondary mourning." Produced up until the turn of the 19th century, antique cut steel jewelry is now highly collectible.
These unique cufflinks are a wonderful and elegant example of cut steel jewelry from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Originally crafted as buttons, these oval-shaped and double-sided gilded plaques have been expertly repurposed into matching cufflinks. Decorating the centers of each are porcelain plaques with slightly different hand-painted images of a young woman posing with her hand securing a yellow basket which sits atop her head. The colorful details are lovely and include blue and white painted dresses with red aprons and rosy skin against the blue sky and grassy green background. Surrounding each plaque are sparkling cut steel studs, each one reflecting the light beautifully, adding a perfect contrast to the gilt setting. The back of each cufflinks is connected by a watch swivel clasp, stamped "1/20 12K GF" on the inside. A very unusual and gorgeous piece, this cufflink set would look equally stylish worn by a man or woman!
Measurements: Each cufflink measures about 5/8" tall, 1/2" wide, and 1/8" thick. The watch swivel clasps at the back measures about 7/8" long.
Condition: The overall condition of the cufflinks is great. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the gilded setting, the watch swivel backings are secure and in good working condition. The cut steel studs are securely set. The hand painted porcelain plaques as well as the cut steel studs show some minor wear that commensurates with age, however, this is not noticeable when worn and does not detract from the overall beauty of the piece.