14K gold blade Mughal dagger

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gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:01 pm

Hello,

I recently bought this Muhal style dagger. The blade is marked 14K and tests good for gold, and it has some additional marks that look like "VC&A" and "MD" and "ET". I'm pretty sure it's not Van Cleef, I was assuming that it was colonial era Asian Indian, but I've drawn an utter blank finding the marks. The handle is carved jade with inlaid gold and unknown jewels.

Any help or pointers gratefully received!

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gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:11 pm

I have been doing some further research on this dagger. The ampersand in the VC&A mark is unusual and the same as Van Cleef used on other pieces. I had always thought VCA used exclusively 18K gold, but I've since seen some 14K VCA pieces where strength would be a concern (like a blade). I've also read about Van Cleef reworking Indian jewelry during the 1900s.

AG2012
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Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby AG2012 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:21 pm

Hi,
A benevolent remark. Test it for gold (there are electronic testers now, no need to file for acid testing).I doubt the blade is solid gold.
Regards

gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:54 pm

I have had it tested, the blade tests as solid gold.

AG2012
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Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby AG2012 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:15 pm

How did you test it ?

gj1
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Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:26 pm

An auctioneer friend acid tested it for me. He knows his jewelry, he's pretty sure it's solid gold. He's not so sure about it being Van Cleef, and I was agreeing with him, until I found out that Van Cleef (and Cartier) reworked Indian jewelry...

I'll upload the clearest pictures I can get, the original pictures were taken in a hurry.

gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:55 pm

Here are some better pictures:

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AG2012
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Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby AG2012 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:28 am

Hello again,
I see where the acid was applied. It`s not a reliable test because acid reacted to the superficial layer which can be very thin gilding. Filing is needed but that would ruin the piece. Therefore it should be tested with better quality electronic testers because some of them will react to superficial layer of gilding and show wrong result.
Regards

gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:45 am

I had the exact same question, "but you're just testing the surface". The guy who tested it knows what he's doing, he's been doing this for ~40 years, he said it's solid gold "I can just tell, it behaves differently". He's a prominent auctioneer who sells a lot of jewelry.

(admin edit - see Posting Requirements )

I really want to know what the MD and ET marks are.

AG2012
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Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby AG2012 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:03 am

For ``ET`` see here, but I`m not sure that`s the mark.
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=13719

I will not contradict your prominent auctioneer but I was in the same trade and I can tell you before electronic testing acid testing was tricky, particularly with gold-filled jewellery. We used to file where it cannot be seen or heated and pickled the item.
One drop of testing acid applied to the surface is not conclusive in any way, but never mind. Still, I would have it electronically tested.
Regards

gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:13 am

Oh, that link to the ET mark is interesting, thank you. That is the exact same font as is on the dagger, they are quite distinctively shaped letters.

I will have it electronically tested. It was acid tested in 3 places and filed too.

dognose
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Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby dognose » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:41 am

It was acid tested in 3 places and filed too.


Ouch!

Acid testing is unreliable and destructive. To get a correct result, such an item would have to be deep filed and be damaged forever, imagine what such an item would like after it had passed thorough the hands of dozen or so collectors/dealers who used such a test during the course of it's 100+ years history. There are other and better ways of testing, such as spectrometer testing, such a method is non-evasive and safe.

Trev.

gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:38 am

dognose wrote:
It was acid tested in 3 places and filed too.


Ouch!

Acid testing is unreliable and destructive. To get a correct result, such an item would have to be deep filed and be damaged forever, imagine what such an item would like after it had passed thorough the hands of dozen or so collectors/dealers who used such a test during the course of it's 100+ years history. There are other and better ways of testing, such as spectrometer testing, such a method is non-evasive and safe.

Trev.


I was very skeptical when I bought the dagger.

(admin edit - see Posting Requirements )

It doesn't *look* like something VC&A would make, but then I read about wealthy Indians having their jewelry redone in Paris and NY, and now the "ET" French foreign mark, which was (I now read) used after 1893 "for pieces of art or rarity", which these jade handled Mughal daggers certainly are. One of my concerns about this being VCA was the clumsiness of the strike of the MD and ET marks, but if the ET mark was put on by a government official the clumsiness makes sense. I would assume the MD and ET marks (which are together) we done at the same time. I wonder what the MD is?

Either I'm being overly optimistic, or the ducks are lining up.

gj1
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:55 pm

I lit the blade differently, and now I'm wondering if it's an MO rather MD mark. I don't find either (of course!)

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gj1
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Re: 14K gold blade Mughal dagger

Postby gj1 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:09 am

I dislike people who don't update and give closure to their threads :)

The dagger blade is 14K gold. The complete dagger was made in India for VC&A and sold by Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris in the early 1900's. It looks like the forum rules prohibit me from saying what it's worth or where it now is or what is happening to it, but anyway, it's genuine.

Thanks all for the pointers. It was some interesting research.


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