So rare to find Shakudo jewelry, and finding a full necklace is a collector's dream.
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 for 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 example utilizes copper silver and gold wash applied upon the distinctive dark gray/black ground of Shakudo jewelry. It is designed with a central large plaque and then mirror images on each side are created of detailed birds and floral motifs. Each plaque is
hand rendered. On the reverse , each plaque has an imprint which I believe represents a signature, or number in Japanese. Perhaps the artisan numbered the plaques to assure the mirror images would be correctly placed.
The necklace is set in silver and each plaque is backed with metal. Two plaques do not have the metal backing. The plaques are all in excellent condition and securely set in bezels. It terminates with an original clasp.
It measures 18 inches long. The largest central plaque is one inch diameter. The smallest near the clasp is 3/4 inches diameter.
Japan circa 1880.
Exceptional Antique Shakudo Mixed Metal Necklace