Niello is the art of ornamenting metal surfaces that is thought to have originated with the Egyptians and spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It is enamel-like substance made alloys of sulfur, copper, silver and lead and used as an inlay on engraved metal.
A fabulous and extravagant Niello piece from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Probably once worn as an addition on a chatelaine, this stunning piece is comprised of several sterling silver and Niello pieces including a pocket watch. It is an exceptionally large sized piece and depicts a jockey hat, an oval shaped center ring with a buckle and a riding crop across the front and then a nice sized pocket watch at the bottom. Hanging from the jockey hat is a Niello link chain that hangs long. Each piece is detailed with a wonderful matching Niello design that covers almost the entire surface. On the back is a large hinged clip that was probably used to attach it to a chatelaine however a jump ring has been added so that the modern woman could wear it as a statement pendant. The piece is stamped "M&S" in 3 different places. It's a stunning and very unusual piece and would make a great addition to any Niello collection!
Measurements: The entire piece measures approximately 5 3/8" long, a little more than 1 1/2" at the widest point, and 5/8" deep. The pocket watch measures 1 7/8" long, 1 1/2" at the widest and 5/8" deep.
Condition: The overall condition of the Niello piece is excellent. There is no apparent damage to the silver and besides normal minor surface wear, the Niello detail is in excellent condition. The back of the pocket watch opens easily and closes securely and the hinged clip is secure and in good working condition.