6795

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    Exceptional Chinese Turquoise, Enamelled & Gilded Silver Filigree Bracelet & Ring

    China
    early 20th century

    open length of bracelet: 17.5cm, internal diameter of bracelet: 5.8cm, height of bracelet: 2.4cm, height of ring: 2.7cm, ring size: N (UK), 6 1/2 (UK) but flexible; combined weight: 59g.

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    Provenance

    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This very fine bracelet and matched silver ring feature large, natural turquoise cabochons (four for the bracelet; one for the ring) set in unusually fine gilded silver and filigree silver mounts that have also been enamelled in multiple colours with fine flower and leaf designs.

    The bracelet is composed of six hinged panels. The two terminal panels are without turquoise but instead have elaborate filigree and enamel decoration. There is also a fine, gilded silver safety chain.

    The ring is similarly decorated. The hoop has an open, overlapping back so that it can be readily widened to fit a larger finger.

    Jewellery such as these examples seem to have been produced in China in the early 20th century perhaps in the aftermath of the fall of the Qing Dynasty. At that time, court jewellers no longer were required, and thousands of officials attached to the Court seemed to have sold off their jewellery, much of which was used as part of Court dress. This created a large, secondary market in repurposed gems and jewellery, as well as items that could be broken down and reassembled into jewellery more suitable for Western tastes. This accorded with the modernisation of China but also with newly-found export markets for such jewellery.

    Both the bracelet and ring are in excellent condition. They are stable and wearable. They are at the higher end of this type of jewellery in terms of quality.

    References

    Duda, M., Four Centuries of Silver: Personal Adornment in the Qing Dynasty and After, Times Editions, 2002.

    Herridge, E., Bringing Heaven to Earth: Chinese Silver Jewellery and Ornament in the Late Qing Dynasty, Ianthe Press/Paul Holberton Publishing, 2016.

    National Palace Museum, Royal Style: Qing Dynasty and Western Court Jewellery, 2012.

    Nikles van Osselt, E., Five Blessings: Coded Messages in Chinese Art, Foundation Baur/5 Continents, 2011.

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