The highlight of these American Art Deco cufflinks from the 1930's is the handsome amber-colored glass enameling which rests over radiant guilloché etching. They are finished with gold-plated backs, a nice attention to detail. Although the enamel is amber-colored, it does not contain the actual gemstone. But these cufflinks do bring-to-mind, however, the beauty and geological fascination of amber which has fascinated humans for over 10,000 years.
Amber is the fossilized remains of tree (usually pine) sap which was buried and transformed into the gemstone under heat and pressure. Away from sunlight, rain, microbes and extreme temperatures, the sap hardens over the course of millions of years. While some amber has been dated to 370 million years ago, it is believed that 2 to 10 million years will do the trick. Sometimes the amber contains pieces of plants or animals which became stuck in the resin when it was still a gooey semi-liquid.
Since pre-historic times, pieces of amber were found washed-up on beaches or sea coasts after being exposed and broken-off the sea floor by the movement of water. In time, humans began to mine (or dredge) to pull-up even bigger pieces of amber. They were used for jewelry, decorative or medicinal purposes; Chinese medicine believed that powdered amber "tranquilizes the mind."
The largest amber finds have been around the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The classic "orange-yellow" color is most common, however, amber is also found in shades of white, yellow, brown, black, red, green and the highly-valuable blue.
Please click on the photo above to learn more about these amber-colored cufflinks.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248