These adorable Carmen Miranda-inspired earrings date from the late 1940s or very early 1950s, when the "Brazilian Bombshell" known for her fruit-laden accessories thrilled movie-goers around the world. Their "Made in Western Germany" mark makes them even more collectible, both as a sign of excellent Old World craftsmanship and because of increasing scarcity. There will never be more since, as you know, the place ceased to exist in 1990.
Jewelry from the early days of West Germany, immediately after World War II, influenced a generation of innovative designers including Haskell, Hagler and DeMario. From these earrings, it's easy to see why. Unusual materials are featured -- actual hand-woven baskets -- and the attention to detail is magnificent. You can see the nubby texture of oranges and lemons, and even the ends of the bananas show where they were separated from their stems. These are simply the finest quality fruit basket earrings I've ever seen. Size is impressive, too: 1 1/4 inches round and 3/4 inch thick. Condition is lovely, with only miniscule losses evident under high magnification. There's age-appropriate wear to the gilding on the backs and clips, of course, but the original paint on the fruit is so sound that I can't tell whether it's wood or hard plastic. Provenance of these beauties is a West Coast estate.
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