Victorian Gold Hand Clasp Chain with Hibiscus Slide
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A victorian-era slide chain, made in solid 10 & 14k gold, fitted with a figural clasp and an ornate slide. The clasp is made in the form of a woman's hand, closed over a bar— the closed hand moves on the bar like a hinge. The threaded clip below the handclasp unscrews so that the wearer can attach a locket or watch, or a ring of charms.
The chain itself is extra long and made with closely-fitted, lightly-twisted links that have a sinuous movement. A puffy, decorative slide moves freely on the chain; on it a Hibiscus bloom, with fleshy petals, is rendered in careful repoussé, and surrounded by fine stippled texture. This is a lovely old piece, desirable for it's intricate figural clasp, and wonderfully versatile as part of a jewelry wardrobe. This can be worn at full length, or wrapped around the neck and clipped to itself. Handclasp and slide are 14k gold; chain is 10k gold. In the Victorian language of flowers, hibiscus stands for delicate beauty.
Fits like a 29" chain, when worn wrapped around the neck and clipped to itself. Chain is 58" worn at full length. Slide measures approx 19.5 x 10.6 mm. Hand clasp measures 37.2 x 12.3. This is a weighty example of this style, at 34 grams.
It is not unusual to find jewelry from this era made with two gold alloys of different fineness. 10k and 14k gold are more durable alloys than 18k gold, so you will often find bracelets, watch chains, and other large pieces of jewelry made with a higher fineness alloy (used for its high color) and a lower fineness alloy (used for its for durability, design contrast and/or cost management). The use of blooming techniques, that drew fine gold out to the surface of a 10k or 14k gold alloy was also used for these reasons.