Victorian Gunmetal Watch & Niello Chain Necklace
Niello is a blackened substance, which is comprised of metallic alloys (such as copper, silver, and lead) mixed with sulphur. Like enamel, it serves as a decorative overlay applied to etched metals, but was primarily used in silver, and was characterized by its black color and oxidized appearance. It originated in ancient Egypt and Rome, and later spread throughout Europe during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. During the Victorian era, it experienced a revival, and by the early 20th century, the majority of Niello work was produced in the Russian town of Tula (sometimes referred to as "Tula silver" or "Tula work"). Although Niello work has now been replaced by more modern techniques, it still is used in Thailand. However, the original antique Niello pieces have now become very collectible!
An attractive compilation necklace from the Victorian era (ca1880)! This stylish necklace is comprised of a gunmetal watch pendant that hangs from a long Niello chain. The square-shaped pendant has a gunmetal finish on both sides, and displays a round watch face at the center. The winder and hinged rose gold-filled handle can be found at the top, which opens to reveal the watch movement mechanism inside. The extra long chain is comprised of twisted oval links that alternate with small connectors. Each link is enameled in a traditional striped Niello motif. At the center of the chain is a spring ring clasp, which makes it simple to easily attach and detach the watch pendant. The generous length of the chain allows it to slip easily on and off overhead, and it can be doubled (or even tripled) for a stylish layered look. A wonderful Victorian Niello piece, it has a very versatile everyday look and would make a fabulous addition to any collection!
Measurements: The entire length of the chain measures approximately 58" long. The gunmetal watch pendant hangs 1 5/8" long (including the handle at the top). The square-shaped setting measures 1" across, and is 3/8" thick. The round watch face has a 5/8" diameter.
Condition: The necklace is in excellent antique condition. There is some normal surface wear to the Niello enamel and to the gunmetal finish, but no significant signs of damage. The watch crystal remains intact and is free of cracks or scratches. The winder is in good working condition, and the chain's spring ring clasp fastens securely. Currently, the watch is not running and remains a decorative accent.