Early Victorian Shakudo Watch Chain & Skull Locket Fob
Shakudo is the use of mixed metal alloys and was originally used in Japanese armor and swords. Artisans would sometimes remove the Shakudo plaques from the armor and incorporate them into jewelry or art. It has become very collectible and quite unusual. A fob is an adornment or a seal that hangs from the ribbon or chain of a pocket watch. Its purpose is to decorate or add weight to the watch chain itself, making it easier for the watch to be withdrawn from a pocket.
This highly unusual mixed metals skull fob from the Victorian era (ca1850) is an outstanding example of the Shakudo craft! The fob is a compilation piece, consisting of a 3-dimensional skull locket that hangs from an extension made of hinged Shakudo links. Each delicate square-shaped link has a double-sided flower motif and forms a striped patchwork pattern with rich mixed metals colors. The precise detail that forms the Shakudo links is quite exemplary! The darkened silver skull locket that hangs from the bottom is incredibly realistic, with sculpted lifelike features. The jaw is hinged and opens to reveal a small glass locket compartment hidden inside, perfect for concealing a special photograph. A small set of initials are engraved at the back of the skull, just above the hinge. A silver loop at the end of the Shakudo extension allows it to be hung and worn from a complimentary piece, such as a chain or chatelaine. This unique piece is simply exceptional and would make a perfect addition to any Shakudo collection!
Measurements: The entire piece measures 6" long from end to end (from the end of the Shakudo extension to the base of the skull). The Shakudo extension itself is 5 1/4" long and 1/2" wide. The skull stands 3/4" tall, measures 1/2" wide across the front, and 3/4" wide from the side.
Condition: The overall condition of the piece is very good. There is some normal surface wear to the mixed metals floral motif on the Shakudo link chain, which is not unusual for a Victorian era piece. Despite the surface wear, the chain remains a beautiful example of Shakudo artistry. The skull locket is in excellent condition and display only minimal surface wear. The hinged jaw is secure, and the glass locket frame inside is intact. There is an applied patina on the surface of the skull, which gives it a darkened appearance that adds depth to the design.