Venetian Memories - Blackamoor Bracelet
Referred to as Moretto (It.: head of a Moor), the theme of this bracelet has been a specialty of Venetian and Croatian artists for hundreds of years. Inspired by styles of the East, this type of jewelry was believed to have protective powers and was worn as an amulet to guard against evil. In fact, sailors often wore a Morcic earring in the left ear.
In the 19th century the style developed into an expensive and much sought-after trend of the upper crust. Still produced in Venice today by the iconic firm of Nardi, the jewels evoke flamboyant images of Carnivale and the exotic mysterious East.
This scarce bracelet of silver features an image of two large Blackamoor head and neck figural representations. These faces enameled in black with the features of the eyes, nose, and mouth exposing the silver beneath the decoration. Each large head is embellished with the traditional silver hoop earrings, white and black dotted enamel turbans and vestiture. In between the large heads is a series of ten pairs of opposing heads (smaller than the terminal heads) separated by an oval faceted paste akin to a natural garnet. The charms are linked together with eighteen (18) small natural freshwater pearls (untested but assumed to be natural due to examination and age). A simple catch completes the collectible period bracelet.
Date: Circa 1900.
Measurements: 7-7/8 inches (20.0 cm) in length by 3/4 of an inch (1.9 cm) at the widest. Weight of 19.5 grams (12.5 dwt).
Hallmarks: Illegible European hallmarks.
Condition: Excellent; light overall wear to enamel; top and bottom O fittings to one head are replaced and rose gold; one small head with chip to the neck; one large head with enamel chip to the neck; due to the color these chips are visible only with very close inspection or a loupe.
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