Think masquerade ball. Maybe at the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lavish decor, opulent gowns, and don't forget those be-ribboned, bejeweled masks!
It's a masquerade ball mask that this Original by Robért rarest guilloche-enameled bangle bracelet reminds us of. With its rich and shimmery emerald green and blue colors and gilt trim, it even has the aura of masks from the ultimate party out of New Orleans, Mardi Gras.
That Original by Robért (also Fashioncraft) did enameled pieces is well-known. Yes, the company produced Miriam Haskell lookalike jewelry, with complicated, beaded designs. But in the 1960s, Robért also created enameled pieces, mostly figurals. One of its most famous enameled designs is the Harlequin jester, a full-body depiction of a masked clown in a checkered pattern suit.
What we didn't know, untill we came upon this hinged bangle bracelet, is that the company also created pieces using the intricate form of enameling known as guilloché, which involves engraving the design into the base metal (usually gold or gilded), then applying translucent washes of enameling on top. The designs are usually engraved by hand, and the enameling repetitively applied until a desired surface gloss is achieved while still letting the design within shine through. It's a labor intensive, time consuming process that when perfected could result in masterpieces like Carl Fabergé's jeweled eggs.
Our bangle bracelet is the only one among all Original by Robért enameled pieces we've seen and researched that showcases guilloche enameling — and how (and wow!)! Its substantial width is also another rarity, we have not seen any enameled bracelet by Robért that's this wide.
How do we describe its shape . . . Using our masquerade ball mask as a starting point, if you cut it lengthwise across the center, and flipped one half — that's the shape of our bangle. Two "fat" paisley shapes, each facing the opposite direction. Within each paisley shape is a smaller one (that also resembles an eye or a stylized heart) that is slightly raised.
The larger and smaller paisley shapes are engraved with lots of round, stylized roses in various sizes. Check out our pictures for these fantastic details. The center paisleys have smaller roses, the outer paisleys have bigger roses; also bigger roses along the inner portion that have line etchings for leaves. Both large and small paisleys are trimmed with a border with small circles within.
The entire surface is enameled in translucent emerald green, but highlighted with sapphire blue tints along the circle pattern border. The bigger roses in the bigger paisleys are also tinted blue.
The high-karat gold-plating shimmers through the high-gloss enameling. The gilding is also accentuated by the gilded scalloped trim all around the shapes of both the smaller and larger paisleys.
The bracelet is about 2 1/4" at the widest portions. It is hinged on one side, and overlaps slightly on the opposite side, like a bypass bangle. At rest, the girth is smallish, about 5 1/2" - 5 3/4". But since it's hinged, it will fit larger wrists, with the opening not overlapping but with a gap, like a cuff.
Bracelet is textured rich goldtone within. It is marked "Original by Robert" within an artist's palette.
Because of its rarity, we tried to find out whether it's a one-off, maybe especially made for a particular client, but we were unsuccessful, except that it came from a Manhattan estate. The company was based in NYC.
Our bracelet is in fantastic condition, as close to showroom as it gets. No visible wear, all the enameling is intact and glossy. The goldtone is rich in hue. The hinged portion is tight, like it was rarely pried open for use.
Original by Robért Rarest Wide Guilloché Enameled Hinged Bangle Bracelet
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