Tradition and innovation

Precious antique brooch with sapphires & diamonds, around 1915

The jewellery fashion of Art Deco did not bring new, completely unseen abstract and geometric patterns into the world in one fell swoop - rather, it was based on the developments that had already moved the world of jewellery shortly before the first great war. Numerous designs from the 1910s, which we see in old magazines and design drawings, are surprisingly modern and avant-garde. They present themselves to the attentive eye as a link between the romantic forms of the Belle Époque and the cool geometry of Art Deco. The precious brooch presented here is such a piece. It appears as a rectangle laid across, its wide frame of diamonds and sapphires filled with fine bars. In the center, a large dark blue sapphire sparkles in a frame of smaller diamonds. Thus the brooch appears light and delicate and yet is powerful in its austere form. The design of the brooch foreshadows the Art Deco love of geometry and symmetry. The use of yellow gold in the vertical struts and the overall impression of lightness are, however, still entirely in keeping with the taste of the Belle Époque. A few years later, the forms become more physical, more urgent, more two-dimensional. Here, however, a lightness has been preserved that has no inkling of the upheavals of modernism that were soon to follow. In addition to these peculiarities of the design, there are also subtleties in the workmanship that support the dating to the years around 1915: On the one hand, white gold is already used, which did not enter jewellery production at all until around 1913. At the same time, however, it is combined with yellow gold, which we hardly ever encounter a few years later, since in Art Deco the jewels were usually shining in pure white. And finally, the use of calibrated gemstones is also a typical fashion of the years shortly after 1910. We discovered the brooch in the UK, it came to us in an antique case from a jeweller in Bangor in Wales. An independent laboratory has confirmed the quality of the materials, the corresponding certificate comes with the brooch. For the dating of the piece see, for example, David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, pp. 278-283 illustrated brooches in similar designs.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.


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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.

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