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 was primarily used in silver, and was 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 Although Niello work has now been replaced by more modern techniques, it is still used in Thailand. However, the original antique Niello pieces have now become very collectible!
A beautiful pair of dangle earrings from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Each earring begins with a Niello bead which is pin-set with sterling wire, and affixed with new yellow gold wires. Dangling from the niello bead surmount is a long tear drop shaped niello stone, also pin set with sterling wire. The niello beads are decorated with a wonderful geometric pattern and the earrings are very light and comfortable to wear. These stunning earrings are in beautiful condition and would make a wonderful addition to any collection!
measurements: The earrings hang approximately 2 3/4" long and measures about 3/8" at the thickest point.
Condition: The overall condition of the earrings is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no other apparent damage to the niello or the wires.