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  • Writer's pictureAntiques in Oxford

Late 19th Century Japanese Shakudo Buttons

I recently sold a pair of beautiful buttons, depicting a foliate scene with birds. Each one is hexagonal in shape and in a gold mount. Each has a loop on the reverse for sewing onto items.

Shakudo is a Japanese alloy used in sheet metal inlay or wire inlay. The technique involves inlaying gold, silver, and copper into a darkened copper base. Usually, shakudo is composed of 75% copper and 4-25% gold and 5-20% antimony. These were all mounted in gold with wonderful workmanship.

The earrings were sold to a lady in America. Who said ‘I love them. Frankly, I think they are even nicer in person than on your website.’

She was going to have them altered into earrings to match a necklace that had a Shakudo clasp. The necklace is made of coral beads with a clasp (formerly a brooch) that the buttons are going to match (as clip-on earrings).

The corals took her four years to assemble. Four different strands (Rapallo, Munich, LA and some other place… all on the Internet except Italy… and then taken apart, blended and restrung for better consistency of colour). They are actually Momo (Japanese) coral.

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