Around 1810, long guard chains adorned the fashionable women of society. Draped in every manner and configuration, from sash-like to doubled or tripled, hanging off the shoulder around the bodice, creativity and versatility was de rigueur.
A rare and very fine repouseé Pinchbeck continuous chain at 45 inches in total, it drapes down over 22 inches and can be wrapped once or twice. A splendid relic from over 200 years ago, it consists of two types of links.
One is a scallop shell form with both inner and outer scallops bursting forth. In between sit elongated links also with shell or fan-like frills and patterns. Each of these holds a cabochon of polychrome rectangular shaped colored glass. Tones range from roseate muted red, opaque alabaster, light emerald green, pale moss green, royal and robin's egg blue and finally a topaz amber hue.
True Pinchbeck was fashioned as seen during the 18th and early 19th century, although almost all surviving examples come down to us dating to the first quarter of the 19th century.
The material was invented by Christopher Pinchbeck and is most remarkable for its ability to maintain its sheen and vibrant bright true gold color throughout time. Unlike later gold filled or gold plated pieces, which often lose their surfaces to wear and age, Pinchbeck remains as fresh as the day it was created.
This is a one-of-a-kind heirloom and yet also holds an affinity to chains and necklaces from such houses as Van Cleef and Tiffany.
A reproduction of a famous painting by Lady Willoughby de Eresby by Sampson Towgood Roch, after a miniature by Saunders c. 1810 has been included for the chain she wears bears a striking resemblance to this one.