Vintage sterling silver cuff bracelet depicting a winged beetle or scarab has, for its “body,” a 1” oval cabochon of agatized fossil wood. The beautiful striations in the bezel-set cabochon, together with the high degree of detailing on the wriggling legs and spread, curving wings (dotted on the forewing; veined like a fan’s arc underneath) combine to make this a truly standout piece.
The beetle’s body and wings form a single element, carefully curved over and welded to the elliptical 7/16” band of silver which forms the base of the cuff. The only mark is a simple all-caps “STERLING” on the reverse of the band.
After a good deal of research, I am assigning a rather tentative circa 1970s date to this cuff and assuming it to be a wonderfully inspired, artisan made piece. Colleagues’ opinions on date and origin have ranged from 40s-70s Taxco- or Mexican-made (perhaps Spratling-influenced) to 70s/80s Egyptian revival—and, personally, I also detect a hint of Southwestern influence in the stylization of the beetle’s legs, and the construction of the back, which resembles a Navajo split chisel cuff!
Measuring 1.5” high in the center, 2.25” wide and 1.75” from front to back, with a 1.25” opening between the “ends” , the cuff has a 6.25” inner circumference and 7” outer circumference. Digital weight is 40 grams.
Excellent condition, with just the right amount of patina to enhance the unusual design.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild