The niello fob chain is made up of elongated niello links, dark gray with tiny light gray squares, and elongated gold over silver links, topped with a silver dog clasp. At the end of the chain is a square niello locket, also in dark gray with tiny squares. The locket has an applied pink gold cameo head of a soldier. The locket opens to show a compartment on each side, each with an oval glass front. It closes securely.
Niello is a form of decorative inlay that has been used since at least the Roman times. The name comes from the Latin nigellum meaning somewhat black. For antique jewelry, the process involved engraving a design onto a piece of metal, usually silver, then filling the hollowed out areas with a powdered black alloy and heating it so that the black powder melts and fuses into the engraved patterns. According to Pliny, the powdered alloy comprised 3 parts silver, 2 parts sulphur and 1 part copper. Over the centuries the recipe changed and lead was added to the alloy around the 11th century. Sometimes the silver was gilded.

By the 18th century, niello jewelry was mainly produced by Russian craftsmen and its popularity had waned, displaced by enamel which could be produced in a range of colors. It became popular again when examples of niello jewelry were exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in England. Most of the jewelry came from Russia, although some French and English jewellers also began to produce items. Niello jewelry remained popular up until the Art Deco period. The base of the jewelry was normally silver, 800, as it withstood the firing process better than sterling silver, and it was often decorated with pink gold.

The locket and fob chain are 6 ½ inches long. The swivel dog clasp on the fob chain is stamped S.S. The rose gold cameo tests as 18k while the two round links on the top of the chain test as 14k. The length of the fob chain and locket is 6 ½ inches. The chain is 5/8th inches. The locket is 1 1/8th inches long excluding the bale, and 7/8th inches wide. The chain and locket weigh 32.75 grams. The condition of the niello is good, though there is some wear due to its age.

Postage and insurance are included in the price.

Black, Gold
6 ½ inches long
Rose Gold, Gold Plate, 800 Silver


Antique Niello fob chain with locket with applied pink gold cameo head


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