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Cinnabar is a rock type mineral, which was carved and made into jewelery for a period of time, in the Far East.
It is no longer produced as it was realized that the main constituent is mercury – which is a highly poisonous neurotoxin.
This is also the substance which used to be sucked up into bead tubes to ‘silver’ line the beads by cottage workers in Bohemia.
Cinnabar in its rough state can vary from bright scarlet to brick red.
What is sold now, and what is often termed ‘real’ Cinnabar, is actually carved lacquered wood or with modern items, resin.
The art of ‘tsuishu’ (carved cinnabar) is a fascinating and highly labor-intensive technique, developed in China many centuries ago. Many types of articles were produced, although the number of bangles made, was relatively few.
The bangle bracelet core used to be made from wood, (modern items are made from resin), which may be why when tapped lightly against a hard surface, it sounds hollow. It is also remarkably light in weight.
Onto the wooden core, countless layers of lacquer (made from a local tree) are applied, one by one, and each layer allowed the time required to dry thoroughly.
Gradually the desired thickness is reached, after days, weeks or months of production. Next the artisan carves designs into the item, and this is the best way to accurately dating something made in this laborious manner.
This cinnabar bangle is absolutely guaranteed to dated around 1890. Older pieces tend to depict traditional Chinese symbols, and the types, styles and depth of the carving, along with the other motifs carved, is what dates these items definitively.
This bangle has at least three distinctive types of carving, and a very light stippling.
The market is currently flooded with new Cinnabar, and much of it being sold as ‘genuine’. The colour, the patina, the style and most importantly, the carving all give you big clues that the item is not genuinely antique or even vintage.
And like any vintage jewelry article, there is always going to be some light surface scratches, flea-bites and nibbles under magnification, and even small rim chips.
Much like tiny bubbles in genuine blown crystal, these minor imperfections should be seen as signs of authenticity, and not as flaws.
This bangle is flat on the inside, and domed on the outside. It’s internal diameter is approx 2 .7 inches or a tad over 6.5 cms.
There are plenty of pictures, please note that the up close picture of a rim chip is zoomed, and in actual fact, is barely noticable. The picture which looks a bright red was taken with a flash camera in order to show detail of carving.
With a prompt PayPal payment, this gorgeous and guaranteed authentic bangle can be yours to wear and to pass on down the family as a much valued family treasure.
Careful packaging, and priority shipping free of charge is included in the price.