Victorian Aesthetic Movement Japonisme Gold Bangle

An alluring c. 1890-1900s turn-of-the-century solid 18k gold bracelet, set with 14 natural rubies (approx 1.4 ctw) and 14 old cut European cut diamonds (approx. 0.7 ctw) in a setting of interlinked circles, with the raised gallery augmented with intricate filigree work. The band is in the form of an interwoven helical twist, a hoop design revived from ancient Greco-Roman bracelets and a texture notable for its historic association with unicorn (narwhal) horns. The design of interlocked circles is deeply romantic and symbolizes the eternal merging of twin souls. Jewelry set with two contrasting type of gemstones — often a diamond and a corundum (e.g. ruby or sapphire), or two different corundums — are often referred to as “toi et moi” (you and I) and were extremely popularly towards the late 19th century, when the Victorian cult of sentimentality inspired jewelers to create pieces replete with romantic symbolism. Renewed interest in classical antiquity and far eastern philosophy had also encouraged the adoption of circular motifs such as the ouroboros and the Buddhist ensō as symbols of infinity and the eternal. This bracelet would make a splendid romantic gesture, to convey a sense of timeless beauty and eternal affection.

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Date: 1870-80s, Victorian era

Materials: solid 10k rose and yellow gold (unmarked; tested with electronic gold tester and nitric-muriatic acid)

Weight: 30.1 grams

Inner circumference: 16.6 cm (will fit wrists 6.5 inches or smaller)

Inner diameter: 5.7 x 4.7 cm oval

Bangle width: 30 mm

Bangle thickness: 2 – 3.5 mm

Condition: overall in great antique condition. The clasp is secure and the bangle closes tightly and flush. The decorations are well preserved and still crisp. The very tip of a rose gold appliqué scrollwork at the edge is missing (difficult to notice). The back of the bangle shows two or three very faint and shallow depressions (not deep enough to be considered dents; very subtle and difficult to spot). There are some faint scratches and light surface wear due to age.