Freirich jewels have been highly prized for their quality since 1900, when the company began as a private supplier to leading couturiers, producing beautifully hand-made buttons and other dress ornaments for the likes of Dior and Chanel, as well as millinery.
First known as Maison David, the firm retained that name in France after its 1922 acquisition by Solomon Freirich, whose name was used in the U.S. No branded Freirich line was available directly to the public until the 1960s, though, when some of the world's finest stores were thrilled to stock it. Everything continued to be handcrafted until the company closed in 1990, a victim of today's lower standards.
This stunning brooch appears to be one of the earliest marked pieces, based on its design: The gorgeous glass stone impersonating carved carnelian presents an elegant spin on the "Flower Power" era's happy-posies motif. My first jewels in childhood were of that style, also worn by my very fashionable mother. At 2 inches round, the brooch fills my palm, and it's substantial: 18.8 grams or 94 carats. It reached us from a Northwestern estate in exquisite condition, as you can see. Its back, BTW, is entirely of filigree, which is very unusual for jewelry made after 1930. I'll add a photo of the lovely reverse before long.
In my opinion, exceptional Freirich pieces -- the ones that truly demonstrate their artistry and skill -- will be ardently collected soon. Since marked items don't exist in great number, having been sold for only three decades, the prices have a lot of room to rise. Also keep in mind that goods made in 1960 will graduate from vintage to antique status in 2035, by America's 75-year reckoning.
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