Kirsten's Corner

18K Gold Vintage Italian Blackamoor Charm


The origin of Blackamoor jewelry goes back to the ancient Venetian artistry of highly crafted jewelry, international travel and the interest in the luxurious exotic trade that was occurring in the 18th Century. There have been many periods of Blackamoor jewelry revival, but it is believed that the interest in depicting "moors" derives from the commercial relations that the Venetians had with African-Arabs circa 1750-1800. The Italian bourgeois wore these incredibly crafted and unusual pieces of jewelry as a way to show their social status, their knowledge and exposure to the Mediterranean and thus international world of trade. Also, these elaborate pieces were considered amulets. Today, these Blackamoor pieces are rare works of art, and highly collectible pieces of jewelry with a complicated and oftentimes confused history. Blackamoor jewelry is also known as Venetian Morretto jewelry because it was made in Venice, Italy, where Europe's most highly regarded artists lived and worked.

This Blackamoor Charm features a portrait of a woman, and is a vintage piece from the revival of Morretto jewelry, circa 1960. The head of the woman is Italian-made and cast out of black resin. It appears as if it were carved from ebony, because of the fine detail, but it is a more affordable version made from a cast mold. The head measures 1 inch in size, and is a three dimensional representation, with texture and detail all around. The figure wears gold hoop earrings which have movement to them, and a gold scarf, all which are 18 karat gold. The bale is also 18 K. These are acid tested but gold marks are found on the base of the gold scarf, and so is the city letter FI for Florence, within a lozenge that dates the piece to pre-1968. 

The charm is a nice affordable Blackamoor item, a rare find and a wonderful piece to add to a jewelry collection. The charm is depicted with a chain but this is sold separately through Kirsten's Corner. 

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