|Fred Davis silver and black onyx "mask" ring|
|F. Davis silver and turquoise necklace and bracelet set|
And then came this bracelet!
|monumental Fred Davis silver and amethyst hinged bracelet|
I have to admit that I was not prepared for the proportions of the piece! As somebody who spent the last several years buying and selling and studying vintage Mexican silver jewelry, I considered myself used to the fact that those old maestros loved to create necklaces and bracelets and earrings that are bold and in-your-face and simply beyond the realm of "normal" expectations. But the bracelet at hand was literally monumental and my stature, limited at 5' 4" I am afraid, could never support such a piece.
Yet what really intrigued me was the design itself. I had never seen it before - not by Davis, not by anybody else. What was the source that inspired it? Was there anything in my books that even resembled this mass of perfectly patina-ed silver and the luscious amethyst that complemented it?
No matter how hard I tried, I only found one photo in Morrill and Berk's, Mexican Silver, showing a pair of pins and a set of earrings that looked similar. So I resigned myself to my meager findings and life went on. Until, quite some time later, while reading Claire Phillips's, Jewelry From Antiquity to the Present, I turned a page and... there it was, in black and white, the piece that probably inspired my stunning Fred Davis bracelet.
|Byzantine gold bracelets with pearls, amethyst, glass and sapphires,|
Housed in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York - I just love that place! - there is a pair of Byzantine gold, pearl and precious stones bracelets that were discovered in Upper Egypt yet believed to have been made in Constantinople. The pair dates in the 500-700 period and it is just breath-taking in its craftsmanship, combination of materials and that sense of history it carries within it.
I might be asking you to take a leap of faith here but the minute I "discovered" the Byzantine pieces, I felt convinced that they must have been the inspiration for Davis's bracelet. Materials and proportions, of course, differ (Davis did exaggerate on size a little bit!) but the design elements are similar and the overall appearance of our Mexican example undoubtedly points in the direction of the Met - to my eyes at least. It's a tantalizing hypothesis, don't you think?
|hallmarks on Fred Davis amethyst bracelet|