Saturday, August 23, 2014

Puzzling Evidence - Four Agate Necklaces with Chinese Cloisonne Beads

I purchased this necklace because the cloisonné beads seemed to be pre-1970s to me.

  • Small open work beads, very different in their floral motifs from the brassy gilded beads produced in the 1970s-90s
  • Goldfish beads – cute!
  • Bead with scroll and leaf patterns more similar to 1930-40s designs (also see the necklace at the end of my post about The Dot Artist)
  • Brown copper patina on the white beads with the butterflies and floral design
  • Careful graduation, matching, and polish of the “goldfish agate” beads
  • “Silver” stamp on the filigree clasp

Three other necklaces of nearly identical design:

Necklace #2 - on offer at Etsy shop Oldtreasuretrunk.  Features several goldfish beads. A sly pun on the stone "goldfish agate" beads?

Necklace #3 - note high polish and older enamel colors similar to the goldfish beads.

Necklace #4
Some similar carnelian designs:
Note the beads featuring a grapes, grapeleaf, and vine tendril motif

This one features an interesting double coin clasp

A 14K gold clasp

Another gold clasp similar to the previous necklace.  Note the red-crowned crane bead.

 Some in tigereye – note especially the fine detail and small size (11x9mm, or about 3/8” long) of the oval cloisonné beads.

The clasp is stamped "Made in China" and "Silver"

The turquoise-colored beads on the right seem likely to be from the 1960s (see similar necklace in my post about The JingFa Cloud and note the circumstances of its purchase).  The two clasps on the left are stamped "Silver," the clasp on the turquoise beads is blank.
Am working on a post about even more exceptional Chinese cloisonné beads, such as this necklace:
In the meantime, it seems relevant to note that there was an embargo against the importation of Chinese goods into the United States from 1950 until June 1971 – twenty one years.  Readers might consider the implications of this regarding for whom these necklaces were made, and where they were available for purchase.

UPDATE: eBay vendor walterwaffelohr2407 provided a most interesting provenance for a beautiful Chinese and carnelian cloisonne necklace that he recently sold for a client.  His client's mother received the necklace from her husband, who purchased it while he was working for the German government in China in the 1930s.  The similarity to other necklaces pictured above is unmistakable, right down to the type of silk cord and knotting.

Note the twin peaches and blossom design on the bead at the left; also the older style "peaked" clouds.

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