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Heraldic jewelry enjoyed popularity several times during the 20th century, including the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. So when it comes to indentify a particular decade that a piece could have been introduced into a jewelry line can often be difficult from a visual perspective. Fortunately, our ability to research collections has improved over the years making it more possible to put the pieces of history together.
This beautiful bracelet was part of a “Legends in Silver Heraldic Jewelry” collection presented by Napier in the spring of 1949. The collection consisted of two distinct bracelet styles, one necklace, and two pins. The multi-chain bracelet with a decorative gauntlet clasp and barrier spring ring closure was complemented by an unusual pill box charm bracelet of a European Knight’s Helmet. The matching necklace to the gauntlet bracelet, measured 16” with a 4” drop suspended from the center gauntlet clasp.
The two pins of this collection consisted of a gauntlet pin that appears to have had a moveable knight’s mace; finding a pin with the mace still intact would be considered quite rare. The second pin was a heraldic shield, while the accompanying French clip earrings bore a heraldic design suspending a four-chain tassel.
Pieces from this collection ranged from $7.20 to $36.00, which included the 20% tax imposed on luxury items such as these.
The marking of the barrier spring ring with both the words “NAPIER and “STERLING” across the bar was not a common practice in the following years. The sterling clasps are usually marked “STERLING” with an adjacent jump ring marked “NAPIER.”