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Rare Antique Silesian Wire Brooch, C.1790

Rare Antique Silesian Wire Brooch, C.1790

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Pre 1800: Item # 1441404
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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Silesian wire jewelry is what is known as Historic jewelry. The craft originated with gunsmiths and armor workers in the medieval town of Gleiwitz, Silesia, (formerly Poland, and now part of Germany and Poland), in the late 1700's. After the business of creating ornamentation for armor was no longer, the artisams found others forms for their craft; mirror frames, purses and other ornamentation where iron was used instead of precious metal. Jewelry making soon followed the making of objects out of Silesian wire. The stark grey wire is finely woven like lace and is light as air. When cared for and keep out of moisture, the jewelry forms literally last forever and require no upkeep. Little remains of this Silesian wire jewelry, particularly that which is in as good condition as is this brooch. Silesian wire jewelry was about visual effect of the jewelry on the wearer; the texture of the wire brooch against the soft fabric and the contrast of the stark gray against white clothing, or against pale skin. Besides its fascinating historical significance, therein lies the beauty of 18th century Silesian wirework jewelry.