For the serious collector, this stunning 1930s Art Deco tortoise shell necklace is very rare. It is exceptionally large and weighty with large hand carved tortoise shell segments, each adorned with inset Cats Eyes.
Each tortoise segment has a hand cut center area carved out to accommodate each Cats Eye in this manner. The Cats Eyes are jade green, brown and white and each shell is highly domed. The Cat's Eyes are operculums, or the foot of the Pacific Turban shell.
The size of the cats eyes helps to date this necklace. As a malacologist I can tell you that these operculums came from very large shells, which are not collected anymore commercially. Large Pacific turban shells are very rare today. Based on the way in which this necklace was made and the incorporation of the Cats Eyes I would attribute this piece to old designers in Fiji.
There are 17 tortoise segments on this necklace joined by heavy gauge sterling silver jump rings. The center segment is 2 1/4" long and other large segments are 1 1/2" long. The smallest segments at the top are 1" long. This necklace took an unbelievable amount of time to make. Each tortoise segment was hand carved with beveled edges on all four sides. If you look at the backs, you can see serious carving marks like the manner in which wood is whittled.
This necklace is 20 " long and 1 1/4" wide at the center segment. It is in excellent condition and both the cats eyes and the tortoise shell have very nice gloss retention. There are no imperfections that would detract from the value of this piece. On the backs, one tortoise segment has a small edge flake (one segment to the side of the center) and one small segment has a flea bit edge chip on the back. The handmade copper links that join the tortoise shell have a darkened patina from age.
Once again, this necklace is extremely rare!
Comes gift wrapped and shipped in a luxury presentation necklace box.