This particularly beautiful bracelet of high-grade silver represents 19th century Indian silversmithing at its best.
It is in two parts that are hollow and hinged, coming together with a screw mechanism.
The bracelet is a fine example of South Indian silver work, production of which centred on Madras.
Comprising chased silver sheet, it has two fierce makara head terminals with bodies marked out by elaborate curls.
Between the principal makaras, in their gaping mouths, is a magical, round jewel decorated in high relief with floral motifs. The jewel is surmounted by a finial that hides a screw that keeps the two halves of the bracelet together.
The screwing mechanism that holds the two halves of the bracelet together screws tightly and firmly.
Utracht (1997, p.254) illustrates a very similar example in silver, and comments that such bracelets also were made in gold and that they were given by rajas to their male subjects as a mark of favour. Indeed, examples in gold were made exclusively for royal households. They were of course also made for the colonial European market and became popular with wealthier Victorian women.
The example here is in excellent condition and is stable and wearable.
Utracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.