An English Victorian 18 karat gold reverse crystal brooch. The finely painted crystal brooch represents ducks in lift-off. The yellow and red gold frame is decorated with dimensional pussy willows intertwined with ribbon. Reverse crystal intaglios are a rock crystal cabochon with an intaglio carved into the flat back and then painted realistically with oils, so that when, viewed from the top, the image has a three-dimensional effect. Finally, the back was sealed with mother-of-pearl, which preserved the painted areas. The motifs most commonly found were sporting themes -- horses, dogs, foxes and birds. The technique originated in Belgium c. 1860 and was popularized in England c. 1860''s by Thomas Cook.
An Antique English 18 karat gold, diamond, natural pearl and enamel hinged bracelet by Hunt & Roskell of London. The bracelet features 84 old mine- and rose-cut diamonds that have the approximate total weight of 2.70 carats. The natural pearl center plaque of the bracelet is removable and can be worn as a brooch. The center pearl measures 8.55 mm. with 4 additional pearls that measure 5.9 mm. With original brooch attachments and original signed fitted box. Selected as jewelers and goldsmiths to Her Majesty in the 1840s, Hunt & Roskell of New Bond Street were prominent participants in the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851, the first of the competitive international expositions that provided dynamic impetus to creativity and accomplishment in the fine and decorative arts. Their work ran from glamorous (diamond and gem-set tiaras convertible into necklaces) to exotic (bracelets set with rare Indian portrait diamonds), and they were owners for a time of the legendary Hope blue diamond. In keeping with the firm''s tradition of versatility, this chic bracelet, with its creamy natural pearls set off by sparkling antique-cut diamonds, conceals a brooch fitting under the velvet interior of its original morocco leather box.
A French Art Nouveau silver cloak clasp with opals by Georges Fouquet. The cape clasp is decorated with 14 bezel-set crystal opal plaques. The clasp is designed as two intertwined peacocks with extravagant whiplash ''feathers''. Inspired by a noted collaboration with the renowned Art Nouveau innovator Alfonse Mucha, this cloak clasp in all its exquisite detail and voluptuous lines perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the period. Its peacock theme was a favorite motif of Fouquet and Mucha. A similar piece is pictured in Alastair Duncan''s, The Paris Salons, 1895-1914: Volume I, Antique Collectors'' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1994, page 251.
An Art Deco plaque platinum brooch with emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds around a central window with a rock crystal bottom on which pheasant and vegetal forms stand out as glycine. The plant forms and the bird are made with emeralds, rubies yellow and blue sapphires and calibrated rubies. These are based on a pavé of diamonds, with the window framed in an oval of diamonds with chatons and a fan at the bottom. The sides of the brooch are made with rubies, emerald and faceted onyx sapphires and set in cells, each one of them in a unique way, simulating a stained glass window. Vegetal forms of diamonds are applied on it. Approximate total weight of diamonds: 4.80 carats. Total approximate weight of colored stones: 4.00 carats.
"L''Anémone des Bois", A French Art Nouveau masterwork by René Lalique. Created in 1897, this 18 karat gold brooch showcases Lalique''s mastery of "plique-à-jour" enamel and also represents one of his earliest explorations of the art of molded glass. The brooch is accented by two oval faceted aquamarines weighing approximately 8.10 and 3.75 carats. More than any technical mastery or gemological import, the brooch is distinguished by its aesthetics and its deep meaning. This exquisite "Anémones des Bois" Brooch is an important example of René Lalique''s early work, predating his international debut at the Exposition Universelle of 1900. While his most prolific version of the anemone motif was the "Anémone couronnée" or poppy anemone, only a few choice pieces depict the "Anémone des Bois" or wood anemone. Unlike the poppy anemone, which grew in the balmy Mediterranean summer, the Anémone des Bois was known to the French as the harbinger of spring. While the forest floor lay dormant, the wood anemone alone reared its small head. Areas where the poor could pick this humble flower were demarcated with signs reading "Les Halles." The Anémone des Bois lined the border of the forest, enticing promenading couples into the forest''s embrace for an afternoon tryst. Pure white anemones thus became a symbol of virginal purity, mourning its imminent profanity by carnal desire. Lalique
knew these traditions well from spending his childhood and summer holidays in the commune of Aÿ in Marne, located on a plateau overlooking the hillsides of Champagne. Two forests dominated the Marne landscape. To the west lay the old-growth forest of Sermiers, and to the east lay La forêt domaniale du Chêne à la Vierge. Promenading in the forest was a popular Sunday pastime for locals, especially as a way to escape the unrelenting dry heat of the noonday sun. Lalique expanded upon the theme of carnal desire, using the anemone to allegorize the stages of courtship. Our Anémone des Bois marked the beginning of this five-year-long exploration. With its petals slightly closed, the flower embodies the initial "rejet" or rejection of love. Fitting of a depiction of "rejet" the work epitomizes divine symmetry and youthful vigor. The flower''s posture relates to local wisdom: villagers could tell rain was coming when the Anémone des Bois closed its petals. By closing its petals, the flower rebuffs the words and sexual advances of the man. The second anemone in the series has its petals in disarray but receptive to potential pollination. An anemone in this position embodied "l''acceptation de l''amour" or the acceptance of love. The third anemone is the most sensual of the series, two anemones approach a passionate kiss, embodying the "consommation" or consummation. The final anemone in the series was completed in 1901. Titled "Mort de l''anémone" it is Lalique''s only representation of the blue anemone. Through the consummation, its petals have been dyed and its purity defiled. In macabre detail, the skeletal structure of the anemone''s rhizomes, or underground stems, are put on full view. The plant has been uprooted, and the encounter has finished. Contemporary novelist Émile Pouvillon related the death of the anemone to the act of deflowering in his 1895 short story "Les Anémones sont Mortes." The story''s heroine, a young country girl, loses herself in a bout of unrestrained euphoria with her lover. In their rolling about, "Anémones des Bois" are ripped out and bruised. At the 1898 Salon, the first Anémone des Bois was a critical triumph. Displayed with the second and third anemone in the series, the first was favored for its fully articulated plique-à-jour leaves. In the premier French decorative arts magazine Art et Décoration, the Anémone des Bois was praised for its "candid whiteness" and leaves that suggest "an infinitely complicated and precious architecture." Our Anémone des Bois is resplendent with the technical acuity that made Lalique known as the "master of modern bijoux (jewelry.)" In his early years, Lalique personally designed and modeled each mold for his creations in clay. These molds were then cast in iron and coated with a paste of resin and beeswax, hand-tooled for detail. The finish pressed-glass jewel was submerged in a bath of hydrofluoric acid, frosting the exterior. A thin layer of "jade green" powdered enamel was sifted and annealed onto the piece. The venation of each petal was painstakingly cut, revealing the plain crystal underneath. The warm glow of the gold backing gives the piece a breathtaking amber hue.
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