Japanese Shibayama jewelry uses a special technique of combining raised elements above a lacquered base to form an image in relief. Delicate pieces of natural materials (such as mother of pearl, tortoise shell, ivory, abalone, or wood) are precisely cut, fitted, and inlayed into the lacquer, and are left raised above the surface, rather than being polished smooth and flat. Aesthetic designs inspired by nature are very common, such as birds, flowers, and insects. Vintage Shibayama jewelry has a special place among collectors and lovers of the traditional Japanese craft!
This beautiful vintage Japanese locket from the 1930s is a wonderful example of the Shibayama craft! Made of silver, the locket has an ivory-colored lacquer surface with an inlayed Shibayama design. The insect motif depicts a dragonfly that buzzes amidst several stalks and leaves. Shimmery mother of pearl pieces are carved and textured to represent the dragonfly's wings and the surrounding leaves. Rich tortoise shell accents depict the leafy stalks and the dragonfly's body. When opened, the locket reveals two spaces where special photographs could be stored inside. The back and interior of the locket display a very fine etched pattern, creating a brushed effect on the surface. The piece hangs from a fluted bail at the top stamped "SILVER" on the back. This wonderful vintage locket would make a unique accessory and is perfect for the Shibayama collector!
Measurements: The locket hangs 2" long (including the bail at the top). The locket itself measures 1 5/8" tall, 1 1/4" wide, and 3/16" thick.
Condition: The overall condition of the locket is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the silver setting, lacquer surface, or mother of pearl and tortoise shell accents. The locket opens easily and fastens shut securely. The bail is secure and in good condition.