Authentic Art Nouveau jewels are so scarce now that even good Revival pieces are fiercely collected, so we're thrilled when we can offer you The Real Thing -- particularly at a price that's realistic for ordinary mortals.
Even better, this beauty from a New York estate is a superb example of its period, because nobody else has ever done Lepidoptra so brilliantly. Jewelry artists of the late 19th century fell profoundly in love with moths and butterflies, not only for their grace and color but for the symbology. These fabulous creatures are all about transformation, the most absolutely magical thing there is. It's no accident that the Symbolist movement arose at the same time as Art Nouveau. Both responded to the increasing mechanization and sameness of their surroundings by delving below the superficial to renew our ties with spirit and nature. Organic forms replaced industrial geometry and "precious" materials were less valued than the creative use of whatever you were using. And quality craftsmanship, usually by hand, was vital.
All of that is evident in this little treasure. Along with its lovely metalwork and old pastes -- two diamantes and a big rose-cut emerald pretender (darker than pictured) -- notice the characteristic whiplash curves, the medievalist collet set and the slight assymetry that testifies to the work of hands, not machinery. Attesting to age are the open C clasp, a hinge type true to the period and a pinstem that was clearly shortened (a common precaution after women ceased wearing layers of heavy underclothing).
It's almost miraculous after so long, but the brooch reached us in nearly pristine condition, with virtually no loss of the gleaming, heavily gilded finish. You have to search hard with high magnification to spot any wear. It measures a dainty 1 1/8" in each direction, so was evidently made for a young woman. Large jewelry was then considered vulgar until you were married, because it raised the rather scandalous question of where you got such nice things and how. Seems silly today, but its petite size makes this a piece you could pin on a ribbon and wear as a choker without choking yourself. It would look really sweet on a headband, too.
There's no charge for U.S. shipping (with an equivalent discount on international delivery) and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!