Is the mother of pearl really inlaid, or is the body of the bead mother of pearl with lacquer over it?
The abalone inlaid beads in your necklace were inspired by classic lacquerware from Japan and China. Their earlier predecessor in Japan were Ojime, a bead created for functional usage with a Netsuke and Inro.
The technique employed here is layering colors and then abrading to create a marbled effect. The comparable process in Japanese metalwork is called "Mokume".
In some Japanese Art Schools, a student may major in Lacquer instead of Painting or Jewelry Design.
Thanks so much Frederick! I've just been doing a search for Japanese inlay beads and have found a few (mislabeled as ojime sometimes, and sometimes they really do appear to be ojime). They all seem to be in these earth tone colors, I wonder if they came in any other color combinations?
This style necklace -seldom seen- was also made in black with abalone onlays. The ojime employing this technique were exactly the same, but with larger holes. There were also a number of comparable variations -similar in size.
the bead base shapes are wood- i have one exactly the same necklace- including the screw clasp- fred has seen mine, a while ago.
This is by the way.
"Mokume" is the grain of wood.
The name of Japanese metalwork to expres grain is "Mokume-gane".
"gane(kane)" is metal.
Thank you for clarifying and expanding our English usage of the Japanese word "Mokume". Most jewelers using this sophisticated technique may be surprised to learn about the association with wood grain.
lacquer & silver are also used.