A French Egyptian Revival 18 karat gold pendant necklace with boulder opal, diamond, freshwater pearl and enamel by Antoine Bricteux, Paris. Designed as a winged scarab carved in boulder opal, measuring 11.89 mm by 4.06 mm, within a surround of white en plein and indigo plique-a-jour enamel wings, with 21 old mine-cut diamond highlights, approximate total weight of 1.00 carat, and a freshwater pearl drop measuring approximately 5.50 mm, suspended from oval and rectangular trace link chain, convertible to a brooch, with original fitted box.Note: Exquisitely modeled and finished, this Egyptian Revival winged scarab necklace by Maison Bricteux, Paris, exemplifies the total freedom of imagination that characterized the Art Nouveau period. Centering a scarab carved from a boulder opal still in its seam of ironstone, within a surround of translucent plique-a-jour enamel feathers, the jewel demonstrates Art Nouveau''s restless exploration of unusual techniques and materials.The jeweler Antoine Bricteux ran a small boutique firm in the neighborhood of the Palais Royale, a center of the artistic luxury trade in Paris. Mention of his work appears in Henri Vever''s history of French jewelry, where Maison Bricteux is described as a "distinguished firm" which created "charming jewelry of modern inspiration." Bricteux collaborated with the designer G. Landois -along with the great firm
of Louis Aucoc -until Landois'' sudden death. Egyptian motifs such as the scarab have appeared prominently in European art since the Renaissance. Worn over the millennia in many societies as a favorite amulet, the scarab is identified with purity of heart. During the Art Nouveau period, it was a highly popular design motif along with winged women, who represented the imaginative liberty of the age.
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