Traditionally these silver pieces were hand carved & the niello was created by baking 50% sulphur, copper, silver & lead which forms the black enamel like coating. The items would then be engraved.
Nielloware was particularly popular in the 13th & 15th centuries but very few pieces from these times survive. The process to produce nielloware is quite demanding as you can imagine.
Siam niello ware has a huge following & is particularly interesting as it tells a story of an epic adventure The Ramayana - the Thai version which is called The Ramakien. This epic is popular throughout India, Siam (now Thailand) & neighbouring countries too.
Here is our roundup of our favorite nielloware pieces that we've sourced from around the globe.
A beautiful vintage sterling silver Persian niello compact made c.1940. The lid has beautiful bright-cut engraving. The vanity sports two niello borders, including one diamond shaped frame. The buildings & palm trees are minutely detailed & the whole compact is in very good condition.
A very attractive sterling silver Siam niello powder compact c. 1940. The lid shows & finely engraved Phra Samut Chedi, also known as Phra Chedi Klang Nam) or The Floating Pagoda.
A rare and beautiful fully hallmarked Vienna assayed niello, 900 silver and horn table snuff / cigarette / cigar box in excellent condition. A young deer in niello makes this a rare and special discovery for any vintage case collection.
An extremely rare fully hallmarked antique French sterling silver and niello vesta case in good condition. The lid has a plaque with chamfered edges. An exquisitely beautiful niello hunting scene is shown in fine detail.
Vintage Siam Neillo Compact. A charming solid silver compact in very good condition. The lid is decorated with intricate image of Parshuram.
An impressive silver wedding gift. A one of a kind fully hallmarked 875 Russian silver niello vodka cup in excellent condition c.1950. A delightful vintage gift without any damage at all.
Looking for something a bit different? Browse the rest of our unique gifts range here.