This is a Shakudo gold locket with a beautiful double sided motif. So rare to find Shakudo jewelry, specially in gold.
Shakudo is the art of utilizing mixed metals such as copper,silver and gold and creating works of art. It is an alloy of approximately 96 percent copper and 4 percent gold and when patinated turns a fine gray/black.
Highly trained Japanese artisans used their skills in the art of Shakudo, to adorn the swords of the Samurai warriors. Following the Haitoreo Edict in 1877, forbidding the use of weapons, the culture of the Samurai was abruptly ended. The artists desperately tying to support themselves, resorted to alternate means of economic survival. They refashioned bits and pieces of the swords to create jewelry or the Western market, and designs for the Japanese women to adorn their kimonos and hair. Sadly, the industry could not sustain itself and this distinctive art form ended.
This locket is an example of the finest artistry created during this period. It has applied metals of copper, silver and gold as well as detailed, hand engraving. The work is like a framed picture, perfect in proportion and use of color. The use of different double sided images is proof of the level of craftsmanship. The locket opens and reveals two bezels to house photos. There are. no protective glass present. The gold has been professionally tested to be 14 karat gold and is unmarked as should be during this period.
The locket measures 1 3/4 inches long with the bail X 1 1 8 inches across.
The condition is excellent and it retains an original beautiful patina. With magnification of a jewelers loop there are a few tiny, negligible losses on the vine of the wysteria.
This is the first Shakudo locket I have had the fortune to offer for sale. It is a treasure for any collector or for anyone who appreciates this form of art.
It is so easily paired with a cord, gold or silver chain. It is understated elegance.
Japan, circa 1890