HORACE WELCH Art Deco 14kt Floating Opal Necklace
Originally a mechanical engineer, Horace Welch was the original inventor of the "Floating Opal." This delightful jewelry creation consists of delicate opal chips that float freely within a glass bulb, and they reached widespread appeal and popularity. Welch first conceived of the idea in 1920, and spent the remainder of his career patenting and perfecting the design, until his death in 1947. After his passing, the adoration of his Floating Opal design lived on, and multiple companies began producing their own versions once his patent expired. However, the original Horace Welch designs always have a special place among collectors, and remain a tribute to Welch's ingenuity and lifelong work.
This beautiful and unusual piece is an original Horace Welch "Floating Opal" pendant from the late Art Deco (ca1929-1931) era! This stunning piece is comprised of a single hand blown glass bulb, which holds numerous floating opal pieces inside. The vibrant opal chunks float freely in glycerin, allowing slow movement of the colors to sparkle and shimmer in the light. A decorative tulip-shaped cap made of 14kt gold finishes the design perfectly, accented with fine repousse detail. Stamped on the top of the cap is "14K" along with "PATS. PEND." which dates the piece between 1929-1931, during which time Horace Welch waited for his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th patents. The pendant hangs from a gold ring and comes with a fine 14kt gold chain, which fastens with a spring ring clasp in the back. The beautiful design creates a colorful and alluring appearance, and is a wonderful example of Horace Welch's work! Perfect for the opal lover or vintage jewelry collector, it would make a special everyday accessory.
Measurements: The floating opal pendant hangs 7/8" long and measures 3/8" wide and thick at the base. The accompanying chain measures 16" long.
Condition: The overall condition of the necklace is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the glass ball pendant, opal fragments, or to the gold setting. The chain and spring ring clasp are secure and in good condition.