The first green of spring

Precious brooch with 0,70 ct diamonds and emeralds, Art Déco around 1925

"Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring" - loosely translated: A reverse homesickness, the longing for yet another strange land, became especially strong in spring... This is what the great novelist Vladimir Nabokov made his hero Ganin think on the very first pages of the novel Mary, in German Maschenka. It was his debut novel, which the Russian writer was able to publish in 1926 after moving to Berlin. The present brooch, whose shape and colouring remind us of this quotation by Nabokov, of the spring-like, strange flickering that always seems to be in the air in each of his sentences, also dates from precisely that period. For on the one hand the brooch seems familiar, with the white-flowered green branch, the diamond-studded tendrils on one corner. But diametrically opposed to it in the upper left corner is an abstract ornament that vaguely takes up the form of the tendrils, and yet is completely alien to nature. The brooch thus shows us impressively how strong the Art Deco will to abstraction could be - and at the same time, how much this effect could be heightened by juxtaposing the abstract with a figurative element. A whole 54 diamonds gleam frostily on the white platinum, and only the branch set with calibrated emeralds is a coloured element. The brooch thus appears as if spring flowers were slowly bursting forth from the still icy ground - and make us dream of warm foreign lands and their blossoming fields.

A particularly effective, but also infinitely laborious technique for furnishing jewellery with magnificent gemstones is to use calibrated stones. In this process, channel settings are filled with faceted gemstones, usually colored stones, so close together that the impression is created that the stones are floating between their confines of metal - it seems as if one is looking out of surfaces of crystal. If the calibrated coloured stones form a circle around a diamond set as a solitaire, this has been referred to as a "halo effect" since the years around 1900, as it reminded jewellery designers of light effects on some planets in the starry night sky. In combination with glittering diamonds, we encounter calibrated coloured stones in many jewellery creations, especially in the early years of the 20th century and in the Art Deco era. Cf. the numerous impressive examples in David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, pp. 281-283 and 314-316.

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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