Antique Pique Pendant
The incorporation of natural materials is a characteristic of Victorian jewelry and the jewelers of that era had a propensity for manipulating those organic substances into amazing configurations and contrasts. Pique work is one which seems to stand out as a fine display of this Victorian skill.
A striking inlay of gold and silver work has been set into tortoiseshell formed into a conical-like dome with a scalloped perimeter. Geometric shapes with engraved surfaces alternate to form a pattern punctuated by gold dots. Contradictory in form, elongated rectangles with rounded edges border sharply pointed triangles within triangles take on the guise of sunrays streaming outward from a central starburst of a golden orb. The buttery smooth texture of the dark chocolate caramel streaked tortoiseshell creates a sensual feast for both the eyes and the tips of the fingers. The reverse reveals a gold banded glass covered locket which can be opened with care. The original tortoiseshell bale and “O” ring remain intact.
Measurements: 2 inches (5.2 cm) in length including top “O” ring by 1-7/16 inches (3.7 cm) in diameter by 5/8 of an inch (1.5 cm) in depth. This antique pendant has a weight of 9.9 grams (6.3 dwt).
Date & Origin: Circa 1870 - 1880 and is English in origin.
Overall Scale: Medium to large