Gift of the Ancients: Carved Jadeite Enamel Bracelet
Both jadeite and nephrite are typically listed under the header of “jade”. Jadeite has a wider range of colors and is somewhat rarer than nephrite. Used for spiritual and ornamental purposes jadeite was held in the highest esteem by the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations of the Olmec, Maya and Aztec for whom it was more valued more highly than gold. The ancient Chinese coveted the mineral and used as a precious gem for personal adornment and for decorative and funerary objects.
Here we have a 20th century interpretation incorporating jadeite within an object of personal adornment – a bracelet. Carved rondels of jadeite, incised with a floral motif and 14k yellow gold open rectangles, ornamented with a saw tooth or zigzag pattern of white and green enamel are joined by narrow 14k yellow gold bar “links” in an alternating design. The open rectangles have a slight convex shape enabling each to ride easily upon the wrist. The rich semi-translucent celadon color of the jadeite is complimented by the hues and opacity of the applied enamel decoration.
Measurements: 7 inches (17.7 cm) in length by 15/16 of an inch (2.4 cm) at the widest and 3/8 of an inch (1 cm) in with at the enamel panels. Weight of 22.9 grams (14.7 dwt).
Hallmarks: R; 14k.
Date & Origin: Circa mid to later 20th century. American in origin for the gold work; most likely Chinese for the jadeite.
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