Antique shakudo and gold earrings, made in Japan in about 1880


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Shakudo lovers, here’s a treat for you. The best pair of shakudo earrings I have ever seen, let alone owned. 

The work is of the highest quality. The rich patination on the shakudo elements provides a wonderful contrast to the delicate goldwork. 

The subject, flowers in a woven basket with a bamboo handle, are perfect in shape and motif as ear pendants. Yet these were possibly made as menuki – ornaments attached to samurai swords. 

This would explain their exceptional quality. They are probably mid-19th century, before Japan was opened to the west, and before the artistry of these small treasures became diluted in the manufacture of export wares for Europe and America. 

The only adaptation are the quality gold ear wires and a sheet of skilfully applied thin metal across the backs to hide the raw underside. 

Shakudo is both the name of a dark Japanese alloy – mainly copper mixed with a little gold – and the name given the type of mixed-metal wares in which it forms an element. 

I’ve included the final shot to show how many photographs it took to find a background that did credit to both the deepness of the black and the richness of the gold! Their truest colour is seen against the skin.


• Handmade in shakudo and gold

• Approximately 4.7cm long (not including ear wires), 1.6cm at widest point 

• Weight is 15.1 grams

• In excellent antique condition

• Will come in a Karen Deakin gift box (the antique boxes are not included)

Please examine the photographs carefully – they form part of the description. 

I’d be very happy to send more information and images. Layaway available.

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