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Good Ol' Buckle

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    Posted 6 years ago

    (15 items)

    This does not really belong under Fine Jewelry, but since that is the only category with a sub-category for cameos, here it is.

    At 4 inches by 2.5 inches, with the look of rough-hewn stone, this hefty buckle would be fit for the best Good Ol' Boy. If he had a taste for neoclassical imagery. The scene here does not make much mythological sense: the foreground charioteer follows the conventions for depicting Apollo; his female companion/competitor has somewhat the look of Nike/Victoria. As the God of the Sun and of the Arts, chariot racing is not really Apollo's thing. When he sets out on wheels, it is in the stately 4-horse quadriga of the sun, not a sports biga. Maybe it's his day off? Or does he drag race at night?

    This has lost any tag it may once have had, but the material, the background resembling marbled stone with the applied white figures, and the modeling are consistent with the work of Incolay Studios, either the original firm or early in its reincarnation. It differs from most Incolay pieces in that the front surface has been treated to be grainy and matte.

    Incolay was established in California in the 1960s by an inventor husband who specialized in polymers (among his patents is one for a diving board) and an artistic wife. The husband came up with a substance that could be molded and stay plastic at a fairly low temperature and would stick to itself, so that the separately formed figures adhere to the background without a perceptible seam. After a way was devised to color it using pulverized stone, Incolay Stone was born. They hired artists who both replicated 18th century engraved gems and created original compositions in the same style. The men's jeweler Dante used Incolay cameos in its Museum Masterpiece line.

    The buckle posted by EDM_KC strikes me as being similarly made, but I think not by Incolay. Some of the Dante cufflinks use cameos that follow some steamy gems, but most do not celebrate the lone female nude.

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    1. kyratango kyratango, 6 years ago
      Really a pretty piece, even if artist's interpretation of classical theme!

      The effect of the material is amazing, great similarity with the other buckle posted by EDM_KC :-)
    2. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 6 years ago
      I think original Incolay Studios work is highly underappreciated. The firm was sold after the husband died, only about 10 years after the founding. Over time the designs have moved away from the neoclassical & the quality of the modeling seems to have fallen off, but to my eye the old pieces can be as pleasing as cameos in any other material. I especially like the ones that are original designs rather than copies of the work of others. The Incolay artists are also underappreciated. :)
    3. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 6 years ago
      Like all of you, knowing about my 'treasures' adds to my enjoyment of them. I also enjoy sharing what I learn. There seems to be very little Incolay on CW - many have to remedy. :)
    4. Agram.m Agram.m, 6 years ago
      Great piece!
    5. Passion4Cameos Passion4Cameos, 4 years ago
      I have a similar one to this. I will have to dig it up and take pictures some time. I so agree with you that incolay work is not as well appreciated as it should be.
    6. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      It is nice to find a fellow admirer of classic Incolay, although I do not admire it as much as the seller who a bit back offered one of their soap dishes as a marvelous example of glyptic art for just under $1,000.
    7. incolay_addict, 4 years ago
      hi cameosleuth you are wrong...shari bright continued to run incolay studios after her husbands death all the way up to 2006 when she died...incolay studios lasted way more than 10 years and after the husband died. after shari died Geraldine Schmidt ran it for over 5 started in 1969 so that's a good 40 years..
    8. incolay_addict, 4 years ago
      the antique pieces were not done by artists who replicated 18th century items...the antique pieces were molded from actual antiques that they ( shari bright and her husband )bought in europe....artists were hired for the modern pieces...incolay hinges were always glued on and only had screws in the hinges on the very large boxes cause of the weight of the lid...

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