This collection, designed by Eugene Bertolli, was inspired by President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. The presidential visit signified the first arrival of a U.S. president to visit the People’s Republic of China. This set consisted of two different pendant necklaces, two cuff designs, two earring designs, and a wide flexible mesh belt with the dragon motif as its buckle. The collection came in both gold and silver-toned metal and was called “The Dynasty Collection.” In addition to the jewelry line, Napier designed a rectangular wooden box (possibly walnut) with either a gold or silver-plated lid with the dragon motif on top. (Permission to reprint must be obtained from author.)
Napier introduced the “Pipes of Pan” collection in 1973. Renowned jewelry designer Francis Fujio designed this “brutalist-style” collection for Napier during a period the company was notably recognized for creating larger breastplate pieces.
In the recently published book, The Napier Co.: Defining 20th Century American Costume Jewelry, the author features both the collar (shown in a vintage advertisement) and pendant necklace, along with pendant earrings. The pendant necklace features a three-tiered-construction central plaque comprised of three graduated stepped rows with hand-carved curved “pipes” and polished end surfaces.
A total of four necklaces, one hinged bangle bracelet and three earring designs rounded out this collection. The most popular necklace in the collector’s market is the one featured in the “Napier is Sultier” advertisement shown here. This particular necklace can command two to three hundred dollars at auction.
Unlike many of the die-stamped pieces of the late 1970s, the “pipes” for this design were hand-carved and then cast in white metal. The collection was available either gold or silver-plated.
The necklace shown to the right measures 2 3/4″ x 3 1/4″ with 18″ chain. To view this and other pieces from the 1973 collection, go to page 477 of The Napier Co. or click here to purchase