A new beginning in bloom

Unusual art nouveau gemme in red gold setting, around 1910

The warm months provided much of the motifs for the artists of Art Nouveau. Just as the first blossoms of spring herald the new year and the restart of life after the dark winter, Art Nouveau in the evening years of the 19th century wanted to make a fresh start in the realm of art and life as a whole. Flowers, tendrils, animal and nature motifs dominated the formal world of this new style - recourse to existing forms and ornaments was to be avoided as far as possible. The fact that this claim to innovation also had an effect on the craft tradition of the gem cutters can be seen in the present shell gem. Almost without exception, 19th century gem cutters drew on well-known motifs from art - famous paintings, reliefs, and even Roman coins. It was in the nature of things that these models were usually created much earlier than the gems themselves. Here, however, the pictorial invention is a contemporary one - presumably even an independent, original one, entirely in keeping with the taste of the linear Art Nouveau style of the years around 1910. The profile of a young woman rises white before the rosy ground of the shell. To her left and right are a flower and a butterfly. What exactly is depicted is left to the viewer's imagination: Is it an allusion to the mythical figure of Psyche, Cupid's lover, whose attribute is the butterfly? Or is it an ode to youth and spring, in keeping with the spirit of optimism of the time? We were able to discover this unusual piece of jewellery in the Netherlands. Its setting consists of high-carat sheets of red gold placed around a body of silver.

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.


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.