Victorian Niello Striped Slide Mirror Locket & Chain
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 it was primarily used in silver, and is 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 Although Niello work has now been replaced by more modern techniques, it still is used in Thailand.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!
This fabulous Victorian (ca1880) necklace is a wonderful example of the Niello art form! The piece is comprised of a locket and chain set, both of which are made of silver and display a fantastic Niello pattern on the surface. The locket is oval-shaped and particularly large in size, and slides open to reveal a mirror on one side, and a place for a special photograph on the other. The locket hangs from an attractive watch chain comprised of striped Niello links, which alternate with sections of rose gold rings. The chain fastens with a large striped spring ring and watch swivel clasp at the center. An unusual piece, it would be perfect for any Niello collector!
Measurements: The locket hangs 2 3/8" long, measures 1 3/8" wide, and about 1/4" thick. The chain measures approximately 29" long from end to end.
Condition: The overall condition of the locket and chain is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the silver setting or Niello pattern, which shows only light wear along the edge and bail. The locket slides open and closed easily, and the mirror inside is intact. The spring ring and watch clasps on the chain fasten securely.