Circa 1850 Book Pendant Bracelet
Mutability in jewelry was occasionally a feature of antique jewelry. Some changes are more obvious – a brooch can be a pendant; earrings have removable drops, or a pendant has more than one drop. But another genre of jewelry is quite different – an ornate ring opens out to become a bracelet; a bracelet becomes a pendant when folded up.
These are highly collectible and one can go a long time without finding one. Here we have superb and well crafted example of just that – and more. It is a glorious bracelet – of 18k gold and enamel with turquoise. Yet it folds up and becomes a pendant, and not just a pendant, but one that is in a book motif.
What one notices first is the ornate enamel work in deep, cobalt blues with touches of burnt orange enamel as well as white. Scrolls and flourishes, a flower or wheel form and even modified fleur-de-lis shapes grace each panel. Engraving adds to the play of light and shadow on the bracelet with intricate patterning of the entire surface. The end pieces also have an added raised cartouche set with seven (7) turquoise cabochons. Each panel s hinged with a long flat hinge and then folds up neatly with the clasp doubling in its role – its slips into the rounded end and looks like the pages of a book. That end is set with three bands of more turquoise cabochons and only blue enamel. Impressive, this makes a fashion statement to be sure. Complete with a top “O” ring to slip onto a chain and wear as a pendant.
Measures 8 1/8 inches long when worn, 8 3/8 inches long to the tip of the clasp (20.5 cm); it is 1 inch wide or 1 ¼ inches at the book end (2.5 cm, 3 cm).
It is in excellent condition with a small removable chain that clips on or off to secure the book closed if needed. Some general wear.
See “ Jewellery and Price Guide” by Michael Poynder on page 263 for a similar example (that one in Pinchbeck). Circa 1850 and of Continental origin. Touch marks for a sea shell, a spiral and a K. Weighs 44 grams or 1.5 oz – hefty and substantial.