Pair of Bracelets with Rings
Each bracelet has a rectangular plaque with rounded corners and a scene in relief (a female fi gure with a unicorn and a female fi gure holding a mirror) highlighted in gold overlay, which is worn across the back of the hand. Attached to the plaques are chains – to be worn on the wrist – with irregular grouped links, interspersed with either coral or turquoise beads and mirrored links as fasteners. Attached on the opposite side of the plaque are two rings to be worn on the index and smallest fi nger. Both rings bear inscriptions. The unusual form of the bracelets, called “hand harness,” echoes Indian jewelry.
Sah Oved created this unique pair of bracelets at the height of her artistic productivity. She was trained by the well-known Arts and Crafts architect, silversmith, and jeweler John Paul Cooper (1869–1933). Both were inspired by medieval goldsmith work, the use of less precious gemstones, like here coral and turquoise, and religious themes. In 1927, Sah married Mosheh Oved, who owned the renowned shop Cameo Corner in Bloomsbury, London, where she was surrounded by antique curiosities, cameos, and jewels that sparked her imagination and further inspired her work. Sah Oved’s most interesting jewelry designs were private commissions, like these bracelets, thoroughly original in concept.
The plaque on the bracelet set with corals shows a female figure wearing a medieval cone-shaped hat (a hennin) and embracing a unicorn on her lap. Engraved on the obverse is the French inscription: “l’amour de moy si est enclose en une jolly jardine” (my true beloved is here enclosed inside a lovely garden) and “L’amour de moy” (my love) around the mirrored link. The reverse is inscribed “MARGARET for her birthday, for her singing and for her part in The Clear Mirror 1936.”
The other bracelet set with turquoises portrays a naked woman holding a hand mirror (personifying luxury or pride?) accompanied by the inscription “je la regarday the pose elle estopt blanche comme let” (I saw her resting in a pose, her face as white as milk) and on the reverse “This clear mirror of religion, reflecting nakedly the images of dancers in combination and separate.”
The bracelets were commissioned for the birthday of Margaret Hutchinson (née Seal, d. 1983) by her husband the English-born American G. Evelyn Hutchinson (1903–1991).