California Abalone Pearl and Gem-set Necklace at Bonham's Auction

Californian Abalone Pearl & Gem Set Necklace

Californian Abalone Pearl & Gem Set Necklace

California Abalone Pearl and Gem-set Necklace at Bonham's Auction Natural History, 12 Dec 2010


7601 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles

California Abalone Pearl and Gem-set Necklace

Haliotis sp.

Baja California

By Naomi Hinds

Popular since the 1960s, the securing of cabochon and free-form stones with either silver or gold is known as "wire wrapping". Typically rigid in style and somewhat unattractive or amateurish—the wire-wrap jewelry of the past has not been thought of as a high art form or reined level of gold smithing. The present example, however, reflects the "new Age" of wire wrapping and is nothing like what one is accustomed to seeing. Characterized by flowing, sinous lines, fine basket weave work and open work areas, a far more dynamic design is achieved. Just as the Arts and Crafts movement at the early part of the 20th Century had its practitioners in Britain and in the United States—this new style of wire-wrapping is sure to become the collectible of tomorrow and is worthy of its own place in jewelry history and human adornment.

Canadian-born, Caribbean-raised artist Naomi Hinds is the most successful proponent of this rich artistic style. For Hinds, the quality of the gemstones is paramount, whereas, with other artists it is of less significance.

The centerpiece of this unusual one-of-a kind necklace is a large naturally drop-shaped abalone pearl, connected with sinuous scrolling motifs and openwork design. Consisting of 16 abalone pearls woven in sterling silver into a continuous necklace accented with faceted pink and green tourmalines from the Himalaya Mine in San Diego County as well as purple chalcedony cabochons from Oregon which highlight the natural colors of the abalone pearls, completed hand-made silver hook clasp embellished with a tassel drop. This is a one-of-a-kind jewelry creation for the collector of rare American gemstones, length 20in

Estimate: $12,000 - 15,000

Photo & text used with permission.

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