It’s been a while since my last MJM update, so this instalment contains two ‘new faces’ as well as newfound colorways of previously-discovered designs. Let’s check out the newcomers first.
The circle-with-balls center station on this crossover design is new; I expect that it was probably produced in a silvertone finish as well. It’s 16” long and uses their 3/8” wide flat mesh chain. The third photo shows how these were attached. This is the second mesh-chain crossover style necklace of theirs that I’ve found.
It’s a treat to see one of their necklace/bracelet sets still together, and this cheerful daisy flower necklace is a good example. The rectangular link chain used here is a MJM staple as is the yellow-and-white color scheme. The “hammered surface look” box clasp has been seen before on a blue necklace using a pair of the same chains (Midsummer Roundup.) The safety chain was probably added by an owner because I’ve never seen one on any other Mystery Jewelry Maker piece. The partial daisy flower is 5/8” wide and somewhat reminiscent of their lotus-flower finding. Necklace length is 16”, bracelet is just a bit more than 7”.
Another set, but with an entirely different usage of the daisy flower – this time in green, and “just the flowers, ma’am.” The necklace is 16.5” long and the bracelet their usual 7”. It’s less common to find a MJM design that only used findings as the links (no chains) but I have found a few.
The next eight examples are new colorways of old friends.
Here’s the lotus flower necklace in green and a blue so dark that it’s almost black. The seller described the metal finish as “chrome” but it has a slight bit of a brassy cast to my eyes. It certainly isn’t their somewhat-later very-shiny silvertone plating. It is 16.5” long which is typical for this particular necklace.
Thanks to a helpful reader I can add a green and black colorway to the half-bow/finials snake chain lariat necklace list. The previous two colors of this necklace were plain brass (A MJM Update for the New Year) and brown/white (MJM Part Two.) I’ve not yet seen this necklace in silvertone but I’m sure it’s out there! Length is about 17”. Many thanks to Laura Mathews who brought this necklace to my attention; if you’re interested in vintage jewelry, do check out her blog about the work and history of Gustav Manz.
I love the airbrushed effect that they used on these necklaces and this rich blue is the fourth color I’ve found it in. The others were red, green, and black. It is 15” long and uses their 5/8” wide woven flat mesh chain.
The seller of this piece rightly pointed out an area of damage that can occur on this particular type of chain: separation of the weave. My guess is that this was either a manufacturing defect or happened because the necklace was somehow ‘folded’ which caused some of the links to disengage. I suspect it was the former because the separation appears in more than one area. The faulty weave probably created weak spots which began to separate after ongoing normal handling.
I’m going to put this one in the brown (or brownish red? mahogany??) category because it is noticeably darker than the red version shown in Patterned Mesh Part One…. with the caveat that the lighting may be making it look like a deeper or more muted color.
The thin yellow stripes show up nicely against the oxidized brass surface. It is 16” long and 5/8” wide. I’ve seen this necklace with various numbers of stripes, ranging from one to three. The three-stripe versions use two colors: one in the middle and the other flanking it.
A very Cleopatra-ish ‘pyramid’ pattern of red, green, and a touch of blue. Like the other colorways this has been found in, the edges and reverse are brass. It’s a slim choker at 15 ½” long and 3/8” wide.
Back to the blues again with this 15” long, 5/8” wide choker in two shades of blue. The second photo nicely shows how some of these were fully painted (dipped) while other styles were decorated only on the outer side (as seen in the black-on-brass example in Patterned Mesh Part One.)
Last but not least, we have a bracelet with an ornate center station on the 5/8” wide mesh chain (length is 7”.) This matches – although not in colorway – the necklace shown in Patterned Mesh Part One. This is decorated in black and white; that necklace was pale green and white. This center station was also cast with the center empty (no ribbed casting) to receive a stone; see this in two pieces in my Spring 2017 Update.
A Small Hope Dashed
I recently spotted this silvertone tailored-bow mesh necklace on ebay, where the seller had listed it as a ‘signed’ piece although she could not quite make out the signature. The listing photos were inconclusive and so I wrote to ask exactly where she was seeing a mark. She responded that was on one of the back-side wraparound sections but even with a magnifiying glass she couldn’t see what the name was. So I decided to take a chance and see if – against all odds – this might actually be a signed MJM piece. The fact that I had not yet seen any of these bows with an embossed reverse (they are typically plain metal) upped the odds a little bit in favor, I thought.
Alas! When I received it, cleaned the bow’s somewhat oxidized surface, and took a look through my 10x loupe it was clear that the “signature” was merely a faulty stamping of the pattern on one of the two sections. The other (lower, here) one is cleanly stamped. Perhaps the stamping machine simply hiccuped a bit, or the brass blank was not in precisely the correct position. In any event it’s definitely not a signature. A small identification-hope dashed!
My next Mystery Jewelry Maker post will show some “maybes” …. pieces that I think might have been made by them but they haven’t quite convinced me!
If you have any information about this jewelry or photographs of examples that do not yet appear in this blog series, I would be delighted to include them in a future post! Please use the Contact Form on the About the Chatsworth Lady page.