Flora and fantasy

Large pendant brooch of Art Nouveau with natural pearls & enamel, Paris circa 1900

Hardly any epoch in the history of jewellery is characterised by such a will to innovate as that of Art Nouveau. In order to clear their view from the traditional, always repeated forms and patterns of historicism, the jewellery designers observed nature with its manifold colours and forms. Their creative power was first to ground, then to inspire - but it was not a matter of faithful naturalism. Rather, nature was supposed to give impetus to the imagination, to become a springboard into the innermost realms of the imagination, analogous to the symbolism of painting and literature, which also fathomed the depths of the human psyche through metaphors drawn from nature. The present piece of jewellery also seems to come from a dream. It is designed around a large, baroque natural pearl, which may even have been the impetus for the design. It has been staged here as a kind of flower, bending downwards and towards the viewer under a golden sepal. Indeed, its silken sheen is reminiscent of the surfaces of white petals. The use of such a Baroque pearl in a fantastic natural form is entirely in keeping with the design principles of Art Nouveau: thus some famous jewels of the time, such as Wilhelm Lucas von Cranach's "Octopus and Butterfly" for the 1900 Paris World's Fair, were designed around Baroque pearls. To the left and right of the pearl, the flower-like design of small white diamonds on golden stems suggests that we can observe here the preliminary stage of the large central flower. All the stems and leaves seem to grow out of another baroque pearl, a so-called wing pearl, which is suspended below and, following the inner logic of the design, looks like a flower bulb. The fantastic structure has been enamelled with gossamer colours. Translucent enamel in shades of spring green and orange covers the high-carat gold in places and gives the design additional depth. Typical of the period, this piece of jewellery can be worn in two ways: on the one hand, it was once intended as a corsage ornament and could be worn in the centre of the décolleté of an evening gown by means of the brooch. With a jewel key, however, this brooch can be unscrewed so that it can also be worn as a pendant. The pendant brooch bears a Paris fineness mark and is a characteristic example of French jewellery from the heyday of Art Nouveau. A rare unique piece from one of the most collectible eras in the history of jewellery.

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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.