This bracelet consists of ten hinged gold links in a Chinese-inspired fretwork pattern, the central four of which are arched to fit neatly on the top of a woman’s wrist. Draped over the arch is an outstretched dragon, its face set with a tiny diamond eye. A larger diamond punctuates the tail, and a blue Montana sapphire is inset into its wing. The bracelet is marked on its clasp, R with a sword, for Riker brothers of Newark, New Jersey.
Nineteenth-century Newark, New Jersey, was home to some of America’s most accomplished jewelry manufacturers. By the 1870s it had developed a $5,000,000-a-year industry, responding to consumer demand through the coupling of exquisite workmanship and technological innovation. Its reputation for quality and style was so widespread that its products were sold all over the world. This bracelet represents one of Newark’s finest firms, Riker Brothers, whose gold and platinum jewelry was of exceptional quality. This segmented gold bracelet is in the japoniste taste, but Riker also produced a similar model with Art Nouveau whiplash-inspired links and a central butterfly.