GlitzQueen Antique and Vintage Jewelry

Antique Victorian Enamel and Gold Alpine Cufflinks

Antique Victorian Enamel and Gold Alpine Cufflinks

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Directory: Estate Jewelry: Cufflinks and Accessories: Gold: Pre 1900: Item # 687173
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Albuquerque, NM

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Among the most exciting and truly unusual cufflinks that I've seen anywhere in the world, these were discovered in Paris and could conceivably be French or Swiss. However, my top guess for point of origin is Scandinavia, due to the marvelously stylized design. The enamelwork looks almost modernist and yet these cufflinks are of a type made only in the 19th century. The torpedo-shaped backs with chains are quintessentially Victorian. Perhaps a Scandinavian jeweler came to Scotland, no great distance, and adapted to the craze for Highland items that began after Queen Victoria acquired Balmoral Castle in 1848. Motifs like this mountain goat (or deer) -- along with Highland Stags, Celtic designs and "pebble" jewelry -- became wildly popular, as Vicky's courtiers and other subjects laced on their boots and took to hiking the Cairngorms.

These cufflinks were certainly regarded as special even by their original owner, because their condition is exceptionally fine. The torpedoes and chain gleam like new and only slight surface wear can be observed with high magnification on the enamel plaques and their reverses. The colorful tops pack buckets of style into their 1/2" by 1/4" area; the chains are about 3/4" long and the torpedoes, which feature sparkling bright-cut detail at the back, are about 7/8" long. Since enamelwork is typically done on silver, I expect its edges and reverse are vermeil (gold-washed sterling). The torpedoes and chains may well be be carat gold; at the very least, they're gold-filled, which means any underlying metal is encased in so much gold that the finish almost never wears out.

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