Intoxicatingly beautiful

Antique gold medallion with rose-cut diamonds, circa 1865

Ennivrez-Vous - Be intoxicated, for one must always be drunk, whether of wine, of poetry, or even of virtue. Such are the famous words of Baudelaire, first published in Le Figaro in 1864. They were to become the watchwords of a whole generation of writers of the decadence movement. Around the same time as the poem was published, the present jewel was made. In the centre, it shows a heightened plastic appliqué of finely punched vine leaves with three-dimensional golden tendrils peeping out from between them. Three diamond roses shine as grapes in the midst of the intricately handcrafted arrangement. Wine leaf decorations were not mere decoration at the time. They were a topos in which, in a subtle and socially acceptable way, the dream of the intoxication of the ancient Bacchanalia resonated, the processions of the wine god Bacchus. More often than at any other point in time, in the 1860s and 1870s we find in jewellery depictions of vine leaves, bacchantes, satyrs and all those creatures that accompanied the bacchanalia. The fact that writers such as Baudelaire and Swinburne were published at exactly the same time proves the topicality of the topos at that time. Industrialization was in full swing, the social corset of rules was tightly laced; far away and thus at the same time safe and romantic was the dream of the supposedly wild, unbridled antiquity. The medallion is very well preserved. On the back there is a glazed compartment. So a photo or letter can be carried here proverbially at the heart. Once the medallion was a brooch, the pendant loop was added later. However, as jewellery of this type was often designed in a dual function as a pendant-brooch, this does not detract from the historical beauty of the piece.

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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.

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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.