Shanghai Express

Antique platinum Art Deco brooch with Chinese jade carving, circa 1925

The historicizing formal language of the 19th century was completely discredited in the years of Art Deco. The new urge for wealth demanded new forms of expression with the means of modernity. Always on the lookout for unusual forms and motifs, jewellery designers looked far beyond Europe and North America to more distant parts of the world. Far Eastern ornaments were particularly fashionable in the 1920s and served the taste of the time with their hunger for elegance and exoticism. The present brooch from this eventful decade illustrates this trend. At its center, it presents a Chinese jade carving in wonderful shades of green. In ancient China, jade was known as "sky stone" because it was said to have numerous properties, ranging from healing effects to protective functions. The extremely hard mineral was therefore also used to make the most precious pieces of jewellery for the Chinese emperors. Pieces of jewellery cut from jade are still traditional gifts today, intended to bring good luck to the recipient. The elongated oval table shows decorative flower ornaments with openwork carving. A restrained setting of fine white gold and platinum holds the stone cut and makes it wearable as a brooch. On the sides, four old-cut diamonds and 32 diamond roses accompany the jade table and enrich the jewel with their white sparkle. The result is a decidedly period-typical rich piece of jewellery with an exotic touch, as was so prized in Art Deco.

China, the land of smiles, with its millennia-old culture has always fascinated Europe. It is impossible to imagine European art of the last centuries without chinoiseries, Chinese arts and crafts, especially porcelain, were a status symbol at all European courts and a sign of discriminating taste. Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, when long-distance travel became easier, trade relations could be expanded and the Middle Kingdom thus moved closer, genuine Chinese arts and crafts also became affordable for the middle classes.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


OUR PROMISE

We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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