This bracelet is for the romantic, someone who values a good story and loves speculating about an object’s history. Who was the girl or woman who was given this bracelet? Who were the gifters of the hearts? What was the occasion? As I was preparing to sell the hearts on this bracelet individually I realized what a truly special find it is, and would rather it go to someone who would like to see it remain intact than have it be dismantled forever.
Including the padlock, there are seventeen hearts on this bracelet, over half of them with star-set stones. Although I do not have provenance for this bracelet, there are several things that lead me to believe that this is the bracelet as put together for the original owner, probably all at one time, and kept intact all these years. First, there is the incredible consistency in the quality of the hearts: all have fine detail, and complement one another. Second, the layout and order of the hearts is beautifully balanced, and there is an element of planned repetition: three of the hearts have the same ogee-curve design, but each is set with a different color stone; two are repousse ‘rope’ bordered hearts, again set with different color stones; there are two other pairs of matching hearts, and there are a handful of truly special hearts that are nicely dispersed amongst the other hearts. Third, the engravings: each heart is beautifully engraved with two initials, most done in what looks to be the same hand. Fourth, the patina and condition: mellow, medium unpolished patina on every charm. The tops are all in near-perfect condition; all stones are intact with the exception of one heart missing its center cabochon. The backs are in good condition, many of them near-perfect, and many with small dings or indents. None of them are egregious, and some may have happened during the engraving. I’m fussy, and have erred on the side of caution in my descriptions, so please go by the close-ups of the backs.
The finishing touch is the hollow curb-link Victorian bracelet with alternating repousse and plain links. (The back of every link is plain.) The padlock is in excellent working condition, but no longer has its key. Fortunately, a key is not needed because the bracelet does not rely on the padlock as its clasp. At some point, perhaps from the beginning, a sturdy sterling scissor clasp was added, which makes the bracelet much easier to take on and off in real life! The patina on the scissor clasp matches the rest of the bracelet, and the quality is excellent, so this was not likely to be a recent addition. Also worth a mention is that the bracelet makes a lovely sound, halfway between a clacking and a musical tinkling.
One of the last photos shows close-ups of all the stones. Most are cabochons and some are very lightly faceted. Many are turquoise colored, some are a ruby-red/pink, and one is an emerald green. All are most likely paste.
Below are detailed written descriptions of each heart, but the photos say it best! Each heart is marked sterling on the back. When a heart is shown side by side with another in a photo, the corresponding engraving is diagonal to it in the row below.
1. Padlock with a lush repousse design of plump, paisley-esque curls surrounding a mounded heart-shaped center with the keyhole. The edges of the keyhole are unblemished, rare in padlock hearts, many of which become bent or dinged when attempts are made to open with something like a paper clip. I had a key in my collection that easily opened the padlock so I could ascertain that it was in working order. It’s marked on the top edge with F&B in a pennant, the maker mark for Foster & Bailey. The padlock is the only heart on the bracelet that is not engraved. It’s in excellent condition with no dings or dents.
2. Repousse high-relief lion face with hypnotic eyes! Engraved ‘A.M.’ Back has minor indent(s).
3. Double-sided finely-beaded border. Top has three turquoise stones in a crescent shape, and a red/pink stone. Engraved ‘A.L.’ Back has minor indent(s).
4. Double-sided rope border. Top has red/pink stone. Engraved ‘A.F.’ Back has minor indent(s).
5. Art Nouveau girl’s face with wild-child hair. Engraved ‘L.B.’ Back is excellent.
6. Same as #3. Engraved ‘C.G.’ Back has minor indent(s).
7. Double-sided finely-beaded border. Top has a turquoise stone. Engraved ‘RM’. Back is excellent.
8. Not-often-seen repousse design with forget-me-not flower and scrolls. Back of heart is wrapped over the edge of the front. Engraved ‘O.F.’ Back has minor indent(s).
9. Ogee-curve design with repousse at bottom, plain at top, set with a red/pink stone. Engraved ‘K.N.’ Back is very good.
10. Cornucopia-like design with repousse at right edge and top. Engraved ‘E.B.’ Back has minor indent(s).
11. Same as #8. Engraved ‘A.F.’ Back is excellent.
12. Same as #9, but set with a green stone. Engraved ‘L.D.’ Back is very good.
13. Same as #4, but set with a turquoise stone. Engraved ‘M.V.’ Back has minor indent(s).
14. Double-sided finely-beaded border. Top has unusual repousse leaf and flower design. Engraved ‘D.B.’ Back has minor indent(s).
15. Same as #9, but set with a turquoise stone. Engraved ‘J.D.’ Back is very good.
16. Finely-beaded border and porcelain enamel in sky-blue and soft white, with the sentiment ‘Best Wishes’ lettered in black, with embellishments. These Victorian hearts are most often seen with place names that include the city / town, and the state. Engraved ‘C.D.’ Back is excellent.
17. Double-sided narrow repousse border. Top originally had three stones. Two are pink, and the middle one is missing. Engraved ‘N.G.’ Back has minor indent(s).
The puffy hearts are all of ‘average’ puffy heart size, roughly 5/8” tall. The bracelet is a tad longer than 6 5/8”, made for a small wrist.
My romantic speculation based on the Art Nouveau woman’s face and the porcelain ‘Best Wishes’ heart, is that the bracelet was a gift given by a group of friends or family members to a young woman about to embark on an important milestone in her life, such as marriage, or perhaps college. It seems likely that one person chose the hearts, designed the layout of the bracelet, and commissioned most of the engravings at the same time.
Thank you for taking the time to look at this lovely bracelet!
Within the U.S. the bracelet will be mailed registered, fully insured, and with signature required upon receipt. I’m open to shipping to other countries, although fully insured Priority or Express postage will be required, which is quite expensive. In most countries the purchase will be subject to customs fees, VAT, etc. Please let me know if you’d like a mailing quote.
INTERNATIONAL BUYERS: Customs duties and any import taxes are responsibility of the buyer. If you are making a return, you must notify us within 14 days of receipt. It is the buyer’s responsibility to pay for return shipping.
Exquisite Victorian Sterling Silver Puffy Heart Bracelet – 17 Hearts Including Padlock
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