20k Straits Chinese filigree pendant crafted in a period between 1920s and 1940s.
This antique gold pendant 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 pendant shows local fashion closely following the Victorian giardinetti motif, its distinct Peranakan motif of a bird weaved in its open gold work.
This is quite a visible giardinetti pendant, at 3.4cm tall, meaning the giardinetti filigree is ‘loosened’ rather than compact. I feel the more intricate the more old-fashioned, if this makes any sense. I prefer a gossamer open work.
If you examine the open gold work, you will appreciate the gold filigree does not lie flat, but is built at a contour so the pendant will sit slightly raised when strung on a necklace.