This beautiful antique pique necklace is circa 1860. Pique is the term used to describe the process of inlaying silver and gold in shell to create a pattern. This particular pattern is pique pose, which is gold and silver strips which fill in engraved patterns in the heated tortoise shell. The process was labor intensive, and the industry folded at the turn of the 19th century. Finding an original necklace of large graduating balls is rare, but finding one in pristine condition is extraordinary.
The necklace measures 15 1/2 inches and terminates with a secure antique Etruscan 14 karat gold clasp. When the necklace was restrung, 6 extra original pique beads were removed and fortunately saved if a longer length is needed. This added length would create a necklace 18 inches. The largest bead is remarkable 21.08 mm and the smallest 11.56. The clasp is 15.19 mm.
The pictures tell the story....One of a kind. Rare and beautiful, circa 1860