Antique Chinese silver
Mandarin Fingernail Protector

 

In ancient China, long fingernails were a way for both men and women to enhance their beauty and show their wealth. A long fingernail was one sign of a person so wealthy that he or she did not have to earn a living through manual labor. A fingernail protector was used to prevent accidental breakage of fingernails and since only wealthy people could afford to have long fingernails, it also became a sign of wealth.

This particular protector was made ca. 1850 and is made of sterling silver which has been chased and engraved in Chinese motifs. There are seven bezel set stones that look to be jade, a clearish quartz, and a red stone that looks like it is from the quartz family as well. The piece has been made useable by converting it into a pin. It looks great on a blazer or coat lapel.

The stones are somewhat crudely cut and each one has a tiny hole drilled in it. Perhaps these stones started life in another piece of jewelry?

Length: 3 1/2 "
Price $250.00

 

 

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