Ca. 1910-Classic 9 karat rosé gold knob with a straight tapering profile and gently raised round top entirely engine turned with a mille grain pattern except for a circular and blank cartouche on the top engraved “HOWELL LONDON” and struck with a full set of English hallmarks as well a “J.H” mark for Jonathan Howell London. Jonathan Howell was the sole proprietor of the Henry Howell, the largest single manufacturer of walking sticks and one of the world’s leaders in the production of high quality canes. Real Makassar Ebony shaft of the finest grain and warm color bespoke fashioned in a superbly curving profile and fitted with a horn ferrule. Quintessential luxury and signed by one the best walking stick manufacturers ever, this cane is the expression of the finest London Style of the period shortly before WWI. Luckily, it survived flawless and with its entire initial sparkle.
H. 1 ½” x 1 ¼”, O.L. 35 ½”
Makassar Ebony is part of the “fancy” Ebony species with its characteristical heartwood showing in the radial cut pronounced sections and strips of real dark and light brown. Its origin is Indonesia and is so named for the Indonesian port-city of Makassar, which is one of the primary points of exportation. Its botanical name is Diospyros celebica.
Engine turning, also often called guilloché like in the French language, is done with a machine called a rose engine or decoration lathe, which cuts grooves in geometric patterns. It was used to adorn the cases of pocket watches and other small items and also to engrave printing plates for stock and bond certificates. Because the pattern is engraved, the reflection of light is enhanced, and its brilliance can be seen as the piece is moved from side to side. The best known artist, but not the first using this technique, was Fabergé, who, when showing pieces in Paris in 1900, brought a new interest to this practical method. Engine turning is very delicate and requires sophisticated equipment and high skill; it was developed in the 18th century and died out after WWI.