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This is a breathtakingly wonderful necklace and one of the very few pieces I have ever seen by Birmingham School’s Alice Mabel Camwell (1881-1946). This is an early piece, which was perhaps created when she was still at the school so I believe it would date c1910 1915. She worked at the school for a while after her studies were over. Unbelievably it is signed-such a rarity…it has a romantic entwining of the A and the C on the verso of the bottom moonstone drop.
The piece reflects her school experience, in that the design styles of her teachers and mentors is clear to see. Gaskins…tick (several elements, including the flowers and the AC mark which is similar to their “G” mark)…William Thomas Blackband…tick (look at the spirals attached to the bottom moonstone on the main plaque)…John Paul Cooper, Bernard Cuzner (leaves) and so on and so on. Alice knew the Instone brothers well and, indeed, competed against Lewis Instone (Bernard’s oldest brother) in a number of national competitions. At times, she was given first place and he, second, and at other times this was reversed. What is clear is that she was identified as a talented jeweller and enameller at an early age.
With her later work-her silver makers’ mark was “AMC” and I have found this on pieces from 1925 onwards. However-this is an early piece and it looks like she had scribed the AC mark herself. It is perhaps the only signed piece of this age, that has survived. All of that said-the design of the necklace is completely remarkable….just stunning.
The forget-me-not blue of the enamel in the spacers on the chain match the enamel in the two flowers and the use of wonderful Ceylon blue moonstones casts a magical blue spell on this whole necklace. It is unique and beautiful. Well done Alice-I am glad we finally get to appreciate your incredible design and successful choice of materials.
Even the silver chains are different, a fine belcher type of chain runs from the main part of the pendant up to the clam shaped enamel spacers. Then the remainder of the necklace has a fine, zig zag shaped link, which I have never seen before. It shows precise work by skilled and careful hands…another triumph.
The wearable length of the necklace is approx 51cm (just under 20 inches). The height of the pendant section from the enamel spacer to the bottom of the drop is approx 6cm. A beautiful thing, in pleasing condition for her age…I could only really spot one tiny flaw in the enamel on the top left spacer, where it looks as if it has been repaired. Scrutinised through a jeweller’s loupe but everything else is in excellent order. She has clearly been well cared for over the years. There is some patina but I will leave it for you to decide upon.
Please note the box in the images is not included. I will send wrapped carefully either by International Express courier or else Special Delivery within the UK. I am not posting to Germany at the moment.