1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob
1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob

NE363

1900s 10k and German Silver Niello Chain Necklace with Horseshoe Fob

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General Information:

  • Length: 18 inches/457.20 mm or 45.72 cm end to end, including spring ring and dog clip (not including the lariat horseshoe fob drop component)
  • Precious Metal Weight: Approximately 11.54 dwt/0.577 ozt
  • Precious Metal Material: Lower grade silver alloy with sulfide niello treatment; stamps may read “800” and our tester suggests a long worn away 10k gold wash in conjunction with the niello links
  • Dimensions: 18 inches end to end including spring ring and dog clip; horseshoe is 26.20 mm long x 24.38 mm wide x 1.57 mm deep; lariat drop component is 66.8 mm (2.63 inches) long from top of chain to base of horseshoe; spring ring is 21.25 mm diameter (not including knob); and dog clip is 24.29 mm long
  • Weight: A wonderful 17.94 grams
  • Markings: Chiefly, the horseshoe reads “WAB PATENT”, a stamp usually on western-central European jewelry. The first link connected to the dog clip’s jump ring bears a hallmark that appears to be a “C. W.”, the two letters intersected by a skull (partially obscured) pierced by an arrow. On the other end of the chain, the first link connected to the spring ring’s jump ring appears to (perhaps) read “P T.”, opposed on the other half of the link face by a worn away numerical stamp that may read “800”. When this link is flipped over, there is another stamp that looks to be a serif pair of letters, “U U”. However, these may actually be another numerical stamp (possibly “800” again) that has been largely buffed away from years of wear. If these stamps do actually read as 800, then this confirms the lower grade silver composition.
  • Era: Believed to date to approximately 1900-1940. Research has not revealed what WAB may mean, though it appears that this piece may have originated in southern Germany or even Austria. Only a handful of similar pieces with the same markings exist on the open market at the time of listing, but interestingly, all are fobs, keychains or extensions, designed as Alps, Bavarian and Austrian souvenirs. This necklace is the only one of its kind that is a full, wearable length.
  • Buyer Notes: This piece is exceptional in singularity, with a treasured motif and findings of remarkable heft and scale that make the necklace insanely desirable by collectors, yet at a fraction of the cost of solid, precious metal construction. An excellent piece to layer with room to showcase a charm or fob collection, this necklace is a sleek, historic, affordable heirloom. Please note that the closures all shut securely, though the spring ring must be manually opened, as the spring is somewhat sticky from its ~120 year life.

The Story:

Crafted sometime around the turn of the century, this spunky necklace boasts the long beloved horseshoe motif, enhanced with another historic favorite: niello embellishments. This chain is not of the finest precious metal fabrication, but it exudes charm that outshines its materiality and situates it in the dynamic epic of jewelry history. Niello is thought to originate in Egypt or the Middle East, and has been used throughout the east and the west for thousands of years. Though, the earliest forms of niello may be found in Roman antiquities dating from around the first century AD. It has a complex, extremely diverse history that most other specific decorative arts treatments do not necessarily possess.

The primary twisted links of this necklace are believed to be lower grade silver, defining it as an alloy metal. These primary links are ornately covered in niello, an enamel-like black sulfide made of sulfur with silver, lead, or copper. Oftentimes, niello treatment is applied to lower and fine silvers, and is sometimes complemented by other mixed metals. On our tester, the “in-between” twists WITHIN the niello links are showing as possibly once having had a 10k gold wash, which is no longer detectable to the eye. As expected, the findings and fob are likely nickel silver, which is also known as German silver, and is made of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. Presumably, these findings were originally electroplated with sterling for a bright, chromatic finish. Yet, time has touched this necklace, and today these components are more subdued, with a soft luster.

Horseshoes have been modeled in jewelry since the middle ages as talismans of luck. During the Victorian period, novelty and sporting jewelry grew to popularity as early as the first quarter of the 19th century, and by the 1870s, they were a dominant favorite by ladies and gentleman consumers alike. Horseshoes were meant to allude to the support of equestrian sports just as much as good fortune, leaning most often toward the latter representation as the Victorian era drew to a close. It is said that if the horseshoe is worn U-shape upward, the wearer is catching good luck. Duly, if the horseshoe is worn U-shape downward, the wearer is bestowing good luck on those whom they encounter, as is the case of this piece. Horseshoe pieces were typically gifted as a celebratory gesture, intended as a blessing over the recipient.

Several other attributes of this necklace make it a highly desirable collector’s piece, including its substantially sized spring ring and receiving dog clip closure, which are massive in scale and offer ample space to append charms, pendants, fobs and the like. As this chain was originally a pocket watch chain for the waist of a gentleman, these sizable findings were, thus, designed to hold accessories such as watch fobs, seals, compasses and the like. The spring ring has an adjoining ring, which offers even more space to clip in enhancements. It is from this adjoined ring that the prized horseshoe fob dangles, and drops like a lariat necklace when worn. This piece is notably lightweight for its size and given its base metal make (it does not possess the hefty weight of sterling silver or other precious metal), so its elaborate proportions remain easy and comfortable to wear. A most perfect moody accessory with a striking make and history, this piece is a rare find indeed.

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