Your knight in shining armor awaits you! This is a very rare, exquisite, mint condition, original (c. 1950 – 1976) Tortolani bracelet with a Middle Ages theme.
Hand cast in white metal, hand polished, and finished in silver plate (Carroll, 2008) this bracelet measures 7 ¾" in length with the clasp closed and is divided into five box panel sliders on two silvertone metal ropes. Each panel is separated from the others by two large, deeply fluted, 8 mm silver plated spacer beads.
Tortolani typically designed pieces giving great attention to detail and utilized dimension to excellent effect in his work. This bracelet exemplifies those qualities! The first two panels and the last two panels measure 1 ¼" by 1" and are ¼" thick and the center panel measures 1 ¼" square and is also ¼" thick.
Various scenes from the Middle Ages have been applied to pierced metalwork on the front of each panel. Depicted on the first and last panel is the king's elaborate plumed helmet with a crown over the center plume. The portrayal on the second and fourth panel is the king's coat of arms with the ram's head on one side of the shield and the fleur d' lis on the diagonal side. At the top of the shield sits a plume cascading to either side. The evidence of crowns on the four outer panels suggests our knight in shining armor on the central panel may in fact be the king himself, helmet closed, carrying a lance, and sitting astride his steed with both in full armor! The detail in the panels is truly astounding and is very much in character with Tortolani pieces.
The characteristic Tortolani technique of blackening the silver plate appears on the back of the bracelet. The panels have been beautifully closed on the reverse side with the same metal pierce-work sections as are found on the front of each panel. There is a marvelous fold-over clasp that clamps down and grips firmly.
Brown (2002) discusses the care Tortolani took in signing his work, sometimes leaving multiple hallmarks on one piece. This wonderful bracelet has no less than four Tortolani signatures, with one placed on the back of each panel except the center one. Each Tortolani signature is the older (c. 1950 – 1976), original signature, written in script, with no copyright signs or raised "pimples."
This is a very chunky, heavy, substantial bracelet in mint condition, and is an exceptional example of fine metal work in vintage American costume jewelry.
Each piece of your beautiful vintage costume jewelry will be sent to you wrapped in archival quality, acid-free tissue paper and placed in a gift box tied with ribbon.
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Brown, M. S. (2002). Signed beauties of costume jewelry: Identification and values. p. 224. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 5801 Kentucky Dam Rd., P.O. Box 3009, Paducah, KY 42003.
Carroll, J. C. (2008) Collecting costume jewelry 101: The basics of starting, building & upgrading: Identification and value guide. 2nd Ed. p. 283. Collector Books, 5801 Kentucky Dam Rd., P.O. Box 3009, Paducah, KY 42003.
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Vintage Tortolani Middle Ages Five Panel Slider Bracelet