Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Puzzling Evidence - Deco Chinese Charm Jewelry 1930s: Miriam Haskell? Helen Burton's "The Camel Bell" Shops?

Last year I acquired this necklace:
The clasp is stamped "CHINA."  The links feature small cabochons of coral, lapis, and turquoise.
The large cinnabar bead near the center had not aged well, and looked disgusting, I thought. 
Another blog post is in the works about these old cinnabar beads.  Stay tuned.
So I located some cinnabar beads of about the same size and replaced the damaged bead.
The "guri" carved lacquer bead on the right looked the best, but it's an expensive bead and I didn't want to cut it away from the nice knotting.  The bead second right matched in size, so I used it.  The cinnabar seems a bit bright, but the original bead was probably a bright vermilion as well.  I figure the next owner of this necklace can darken the lacquer if she wants to.  
Then the owner of eBay shop Beads With A Past emailed me with pictures of a fabulous necklace she'd recently acquired:

My photo files produced more examples of jewelry using similar beads:

I replaced the corroded cloisonne bead on this bracelet.
Similar filigree links
More examples of that deteriorated cinnabar
What to make of all these?  They seem to be strictly Chinese designs from the Deco era.  Were they products of a workshop that perhaps supplied Helen Burton's "Camel Bell" shops in the Peking Hotel and the ship Empress of Britain during the 1920s-30s?  Were they the inspiration for pieces attributed to Miriam Haskell?  Or were they commissioned by Haskell from a Chinese workshop? Puzzling evidence.

UPDATE: A few more examples in a later post.

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