I do admire the bracelets made in the late Georgian period from 1820 to the beginning of the Victorian. Before this time, popular bracelets were made with a clasp to which were attached rows of chain, beads, pearls of gemstones. The rows could be as few as three to as many as eight or nine rows. The clasp could be a miniature painting, or made of chased or engraved gold. However, from around 1809 and after, solid bands began to replace the strands used previously. From the 1820s, these solid bands could be made of fine gold mesh, woven gold chains, plaited chains or plaited or braided hair. Other bands were squares of decorated gold, often jointed or hinged. Central clasps remained large but from the 1830s onwards, smaller spring clasps which did up at the back of the bracelet were introduced and the central clasp became only decorative. The solid bands also remained equal width for their entire length until the 1830s again, when they began to taper from the centre.
Here are some examples of bracelets from this period. The first piece, shown above, is a beautiful bracelet with elaborate cannetille work on the clasp and sides with gold swirls and flowers. Cannetille work became popular in England around 1790 and in France after 1815. It was very labour intensive, involving very fine gold wires being wound into tight coils and scrolls, and bead granulation. The stones are chalcedony and seed pearls. The band is a fine woven gold mesh.
The second is the bracelet in the photo at the top of the post. It has a double gold mesh and an ornate clasp containing rubies, emeralds and turquoise. There are gold rosettes and flowers on the clasp, with different coloured gold used for some of the flower petals.
The third bracelet below is a woven gold bracelet with a central clasp set with paste stones and ornate cannetille wirework and rosettes. It is a darker gold than the first two bracelets.
The final bracelets are wide matching bracelets, made of woven pinchbeck and set with red paste in the ornate clasps. It is rare to find two matching bracelets still kept as a pair. These bracelets can also be joined to form a choker necklace.
Pinchbeck is an alloy of copper and zinc which was developed as a substitute for gold in around 1720 by Christopher Pinchbeck. It was durable, long lasting and didn’t tarnish. Pinchbeck and its many imitants basically ceased being made by the 1840s, replaced when electroplating of gold became available commercially.