An Art Nouveau Fairy Brooch
Wings of Enchantment!
In 1904 J.M. Barrie wrote the play Peter Pan and introduced the world to the enchanting fairy Tinker Bell. Perhaps he was inspired by a wonderful Art Nouveau brooch like this one.
Fairy brooches, winged women and dragon fly ladies were all common motifs for the Art Nouveau jewelers. This brooch is a particularly lovely example.
Masterfully crafted in 14kt gold, the brooch displays the artistry of a Art Nouveau jeweler. Note the fairy's life-like animation, her expressive gestures and the wispy, flow of her veils. We particularly like her contemplative, intelligent expression, a pleasing contrast to the dopey, vacant stare of the women in many Art Nouveau jewels.
The wings are wonderful examples of plique-a-jour enameling. When held up to the light, they glow with glorious translucent colors, reminiscent of a miniature stained glass window. To add just the right touch of sparkle, eight single-cut diamonds have been gently set on the wings, like glistening dew drops.
Cost: Although this beautiful brooch has sold, you will find many more fine brooches in the Antique Brooch Gallery.
Measurements: This Art Nouveau brooch (circa 1900) measures 1.75" from wing tip to wing tip and the fairy is 1.375" in height.
The rear of the brooch illustrates the masterful craftsmanship that guided the jewels creation. Note the lattice of fine gold work, reminiscent of the fine veins in a leaf or a butterfly's wings, that was handcrafted to securely hold the translucent enamels. Each cell of the lattice (known as a cloisonne) was filled with powdered glass (enamel) of just the right shades and, then, slowly heated till the particles fused into glass. This process was carefully repeated several times until the desired depth, consistency and shade of color was achieved. One error and the jewel would be lost.
Also, note the curved bail near the top of the jewel which allows it to be worn as a pendant, as well as a brooch. The jewelers of the period never failed to pay attention to the details.
Finally, towards the bottom of the jewel you can see the gold purity mark, "14 K". This mark and the style of the brooch lead us to believe that it was created in an American workshop, possibly in Newark.
Beautifully sculpted with richly enameled wings and eight glistening diamonds, this enchanting brooch is sure to add magic to any collection of jewelry from the turn of the century.
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