Raj Era Diamond, Pearl, and Elephant Hair Bracelet

$1,800.00
About Details History

    A thick strand of an elephant's tail hair has long been regarded as a protective talisman. It's been used in jewelry for at least 1200 years in Africa, where the material was believed to ward off misfortune or harm. In slightly more recent history, during the British Raj (1858-1947), Western Europeans commissioned elephant hair jewelry as a souvenir of their Indian safari expedition.  Colonialist adventurers plucked or cut tail hairs from their elephant mounts and combined them with precious gems and metals.  This magnificent c. 1900 bracelet is most likely of colonial Indian origin. The bracelet combines 18k yellow gold, white enamel (looks to have been re-enameled at some point), elephant hair, seed pearls, and diamonds in refined Edwardian style. The scintillating eleven old European cuts range from .13ct to .18ct, a combined weight of 1.32ctw.

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    • Materials: 18k yellow gold, elephant hair, white enamel, seed pearls, 11 old European cut diamonds with total weight of 1.32ctw
    • Age: c. 1900
    • Condition: Very good - enamel work appears to have been repaired or added, enamel loss around the center diamond
    • Size: 2.5" diameter, will fit a small to medium-sized wrist
    • Location: To see this piece in person, visit our shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
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    VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
    less
    more

    About Details History

      A thick strand of an elephant's tail hair has long been regarded as a protective talisman. It's been used in jewelry for at least 1200 years in Africa, where the material was believed to ward off misfortune or harm. In slightly more recent history, during the British Raj (1858-1947), Western Europeans commissioned elephant hair jewelry as a souvenir of their Indian safari expedition.  Colonialist adventurers plucked or cut tail hairs from their elephant mounts and combined them with precious gems and metals.  This magnificent c. 1900 bracelet is most likely of colonial Indian origin. The bracelet combines 18k yellow gold, white enamel (looks to have been re-enameled at some point), elephant hair, seed pearls, and diamonds in refined Edwardian style. The scintillating eleven old European cuts range from .13ct to .18ct, a combined weight of 1.32ctw.

      less
      more

      • Materials: 18k yellow gold, elephant hair, white enamel, seed pearls, 11 old European cut diamonds with total weight of 1.32ctw
      • Age: c. 1900
      • Condition: Very good - enamel work appears to have been repaired or added, enamel loss around the center diamond
      • Size: 2.5" diameter, will fit a small to medium-sized wrist
      • Location: To see this piece in person, visit our shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
      less
      more
      VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
      less
      more