Victorian Carved Gutta-Percha + Inlaid Abalone "LOVE" Pendant
Gutta-percha is a genus of tropical trees native to the Southeast Asia and northern Australasia regions. An inelastic natural latex material is produced from the sap of the trees which is also referred to as gutta-percha. The beneficial properties were discovered by Westerners in 1842, and the substance was initially used as an electrical insulator. A few years later gutta-percha became a popular material used to manufacture furniture and then mourning jewelry because it was easily carved and very resilient.
This unusual pendant from the Victorian (ca1880) era is a wonderful example of jewelry crafted from gutta-percha! The lovely hand carved gutta-percha piece is double-sided and forms the shape of a relatively large oval. One side features an beautiful inlaid abalone image and the other side displays a carved starburst-like design. The abalone image also features inlaid twisted wirework, and together they depict a wonderfully ornate floral design that surrounds the word "LOVE" in bold letters at the center. The inlaid shell pieces create an incredible appearance that shimmers with iridescent colors, catching the light beautifully with every turn. Decorating the reverse side is a fabulous starburst-like carved design with a lovely textured finish in the center. With equally beautiful sides, the pendant offers wonderful versatility and hangs from a round gunmetal ring that is attached to a carved bail at the top. This romantic piece will look stunning hanging from a favorite chain, and would make a lovely addition to any collection!
Measurements: The gutta-percha pendant hangs approximately 1 7/8" long (including the bail at the top), and measures about 1" wide and 3/8" thick.
Condition: The pendant is in excellent antique condition. Besides normal surface wear, there are no significant chips or scratches to the carved gutta percha. There are a few pieces of inlaid abalone missing, along with a small piece of the twisted wirework, however, due to the intricate nature of the design, it is hardly noticeable when worn and does not at all detract from the overall beauty of the piece.