A rare Californian gold rush jewel

California, circa 1850


the chain composed of seven rectangular specimens of gold-bearing quartz joined by beaded and smooth curb links entirely mounted in yellow gold, six overlaid with buckles and one pierced with a gold horseshoe and buckle, suspending a similarly mounted T- bar and an exceptional hinged gold bucket containing conjoined miniature specimens of gold-bearing quartz, silver nuggets and orthoclase.

Length: 36cm

The Californian gold rush of 1848-1855 shaped the future of the new state of California and that of the United States as a whole. Its social, political, and economic influences are famously embedded in the American narrative. This watch chain is a significant celebration of the gold rush in the American decorative arts. By the 1850’s quartz mining became the primary method of extracting material from the gold fields. The quartz specimens here are chosen for their high density of gold and contrasting pink to white colours. The presence of the horseshoe and bucket represent the tools and daily grind of the gold rush, involving the use of horses and intense manual labour to reach and work the remote goldfields.