20k Straits Chinese filigree necklace crafted a period between 1920s and 1940s.
This antique gold necklace is made by Chinese or Indian craftsmen in this region (Singapore, Malaysia, or then “Malaya”). Such Peranakan pieces reflect a blending of local culture and Victorian fashion, exploding in a myriad of styles that adapt Art Nouveau and Art Deco motifs.
Because there was so much demand for Peranakan jewelry, it is more common to find a piece of jewelry adapting a predecessor piece (ie. similar but dissimilar!), than to find a piece truly Victorian or chiefly Art Nouveau or Deco era. The Peranakan affluence (and hence exposure to Western fashion) and love for Western culture before enthusiastically adapting to local auspices cannot be overstated!
This filigree necklace is a combination of a bib necklace and a lavaliere, featuring a butterfly weaved into its gold web. The diamonds are wholly natural, hand cleaved, meant to glimmer in the gold and not wholly polished.
The unique contribution of Peranakan craftsmanship in jewelry art is the three-part articulating centrepiece, allowing the necklace to fall nicely on or below a woman’s clavicles.
This folding centrepiece allows you to wear the necklace ‘afloat’ – it echoes the skill of crafting the gold to be both robust and thin. This gold craftsmanship is a delicate balance perfected by old Peranakan jewelry. It is this challenge for reproduction Peranakan jewelry to craft a piece of jewelry as gossamer as original pieces.
If you examine the open gold work, you will appreciate the gold filigree rarely lies flat, but most pieces are slightly raised with a contour that casts soulful shadows of its filigree. We’ve seen so much Peranakan jewelry it’s hard not to romanticise the art of its craftsmanship and love for all things beautiful.
This butterfly bib sits at the clavicles; the peacock bib sits lower. The butterfly necklace will look very good on those who also love choker type necklaces.