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Edwardian Niello & Silver Locket


Niello is a deep black metal mixture which has been fused onto the surface of a metal object. The contrast can be striking with the shiny black inlay set against a metal such as silver. Although developed in antiquity, Niello had resurgence during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

This particular example of a round locket exemplifies how the decorative technique is so arresting. The silver locket is embellished with a checkerboard pattern of niello squares alternating with silver ones. Centered is a floral form crafted from rose gold and silver and assembled from circles and orbs. The configuration of the appliqué is in direct opposition of the linear design of adorning the locket surface. Please note that even the bale has been treated with the niello.

The interior reveals two compartments with one rim present with a modern plastic covering. The accompanying sterling silver curb chain is not original but well matched to the locket.

Date: Circa 1900.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length including bale by 7/8 of an inch (2.2 cm) in width. Chain is 18 inches (45.7 cm) in length. Weight of 7.6 grams (4.9 dwt).

Hallmarks: Sterling on chain.

Condition: Excellent; some dark areas to interior easily covered with fabric. One rim present with modern plastic covering.

Origin: European and possibly English.

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