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Victorian Niello Long Chain


Niello has a fascinating history which dates back to ancient Egypt. Quite popular in Italy, France and Russia, the demand for Niello work has been on the wane since the 1700s. There was, however a modest resurgence during the later years of the Victorian era.

More a process than a substance as the technique has several steps. Initially a minute pattern or decoration is incised into a metal surface. Then the mixture (an amalgam of one or more parts of silver copper and lead) would “fill in” the carved out areas and the object heated to harden the alloy. Voilà…the pattern takes on a silver blue-black luster with a look that shimmers like no other metal.

In its original glorious length of a grand 62 inches, this Victorian era long chain necklace has been constructed with the classic Figaro style links. Each set of links consists of two rose gold vermeil loop-in-loop links followed by a larger link of silver inset with Niello. The Niello links appear as though wrapped with a slender silver wire – actually each silver link has incised diagonal bands inserted with Niello. Closure is secure with the original large round Niello dog clip and spring clasp

Date: Circa 1880.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: 62 inches (157.4 cm) in total length. Weight of 43.3 grams (27.8 dwt).

Condition: Excellent.

Origin: European.

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