This Niello guard chain dates to about 1880 or so. What is unusual about this chain is the heft and shape of the link. It is more substantial than most of the niello chains I have seen. This on is 48" long and in very good condition showing very little wear to the gold vermeil links. It features a silver niello dog clip or spring clip on one end and a sterling silver heart shaped padlock on the other. The padlock is an addition from a later date, 1950's or so and makes a great way to connect more charms and lockets from your own collection of keepsakes.
Niello is a technique that dates back to before the 15th century. In this piece the surface of the silver links have been engraved or scored then filled with a black metallic alloy. The links are then heated to fuse the two metals together. A time consuming process that results in these cherished pieces with silver and black patterns.
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A second generation dealer in 19th & 20th century decorative antiques & jewelry.