Hinged bracelet with cameo

American
about 1880
Tiffany & Co. (American, active 1837–present)


Dimensions

Height x width x depth: 5.8 x 6.1 x 1.5 cm (2 5/16 x 2 3/8 x 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

2008.1043

Medium or Technique

Gold (18kt) and stained chalcedony

On View

Jan and Warren Adelson Gallery (Gallery 221)

Collections

Americas, Jewelry

Classifications

Bracelets and armlets

The rectangular cameo in this bracelet is a nicolo, a carved-gem form first found in the Classical world and used for portraits and scenes of mythical and historical importance. In this nineteenth century example, the chalcedony background was stained black, creating a dramatic contrast for the white layer that the lapidary artist carved at varying depths. As a result, there is a range of tonalities with some areas having a blue-white translucence while others appear an opaque white. The scene consists of five putti, plump children with wings that first appear on child sarcophagi of the second century. Here the central figure holds a horn, two are shown holding birds, while the putto at the right restrains what appears to be a hunting dog. Similar cameos were used by Tiffany & Co. in brooches with diamond surrounds, one of which was owned by Mrs. Leland Stanford.

The goldwork on this bracelet compliments the cameo in that it incorporates two decorative palmettes that have their origin in ancient Greece. These flank the central element and are riveted to the pierced, openwork band. The bracelet has a flush hinge with square-gap flaps and a box clasp. Both the palmetttes and band have engraved decoration that enriches the yellow gold surface.

Markings

Impressed TIFFANY&CO. on underside near tang; "vozd" scratched into the underside of the cameo

Provenance

1997, Skinner's Auctioneers, Boston; 1997 sold by Skinner's (lot 262, sale 1827, December 9, 1997) to Susan B. Kaplan, Brookline, MA; 2008, gift from Kaplan to MFA (October 22, 2008).

Credit Line

Gift of Susan B. Kaplan in memory of Dr. Joseph Sataloff