Antique niello photo locket made in the late 1800’s
A brief article on niello:
Dating from around the 11th century, niello is blackening technique produced as an alloy of sulfur with copper, silver and lead. Once produced, it is used to fill designs that have been engraved into the surface of a metal. Usually done to silver, once applied to the metal and heated, the result is a black colouring that runs into the engraved channels. The excess niello is then removed by scraping until the filled channels are clearly visible, and finally the surface is polished. The contrast of the black niello against the bright silver surface produces an attractive decorative effect. Regaining popularity during the Art Deco period of the 1920â€™s to the 1940â€™s, niello jewellery has a look that although first appearances will lead people to think it is enamel, it does have its own unique texture and feel.
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