How Art Deco got its name

Strong Design French Art Deco Jabot Pin Signed G.fouquet

One of the major design events of the 1920s, if not the most important, was “L’exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes” which is French for “The International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts”. This World’s fair was held in Paris, France from April to October 1925.

The term Art Deco was derived by shortening the words Arts Décoratifs in the title of this exposition and described designs in terms of a broad decoratively “modern” style, influenced strongly by Decorative Cubism. One of the members of the Admission Committee for the jewelry department of this trail-blazing fair was the maker of the pin we show here, Mr. George Fouquet.

George Fouquet (1862-1957) is recognized as one of the very few and best known artist jewelers of his time. He won many international awards and worked closely together with artists of his time, like Alfons Mucha.

George Fouquet’s jewelry can be found in collections of many important museums all over the world; from the Victorian & Albert in London to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He bequeathed his archive and designs to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris

The so-called jabot-pin by George Fouquet we show here, is as close as one can get to the source of pure Art Deco jewelry.

Click the picture to get to the descriptive page of this pin.

Superb 18th Century cameo

Superb French Baroque Cameo In Golden Mounting. A True Collectors Item

Two weeks ago we were lucky being offered an impressive private collection of antique jewelry. The person who brought it to us inherited it from his parents, antique jewelry dealers who retired some 30 years ago, and he wanted to find a good home for it. We felt honoured that he came to us and were amazed by the quality of this collection. One could see the love these people had for antique jewelry.

Among the many high quality pieces we got was one truly amazing cameo. It took us many hours to determine where the cameo came from and what it depicted and the result is amazing.

If you want to find out about this cameo just click the picture.

Filigree Necklace Fontenay

Filigree Necklace Gold Fontenay

It is with great pride that we offer this magnificent necklace here. A true museum piece that we are thrilled to have in our collection.

The continuous uniform fringe decorated with beads, wirework and florettes of this necklace is typical for the work of Eugène Fontenay. A demi-parure of very similar design is illustrated in French Jewelry of the Nineteenth Century, Henri Vever, translated by Katherine Purcell, p. 643. and a similar necklace plus matching earrings were sold last year at Sotheby’s for $ 52,000!

The archaeological revival is the appellation for neo-styles of the 18th and 19th centuries that where inspired by discoveries in the excavations of Roman, Egyptian, Hellenistic and Etruscan sites. The first revival in the 18th century, which is called neoclassicism, came after excavations of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The second revival was inspired by finds in Etruscan burial sites (in Italy). In jewelry, this style is characterized by granulation and filigree decorations.

There is some discussion among experts on who rediscovered the granulation technique. To some it was Castellani in the 19th Century but various methods of manufacturing and handling of granules have been described by Pliny in 79 AD, V. Biringucchio in 1540, G. Agricola in 1556, B. Cellini in 1568, M. Fachs in 1595 and A. Libavius in 1597/1606. In fact never since it was first used has granulation been a lost art. Until far into the 19th Century, the time of its alleged ‘rediscovery’, this technique has thrived continuously in many places like Russia, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Tibet and Persia. This also holds true for Swiss, German and Dutch folk-jewelry.

Eugène Fontenay (1823-87) was one of the foremost goldsmiths in France during the second half of the nineteenth century. He was a great admirer of the ancient techniques of granulation and filigree, and became best known for his outstanding work in the ‘archaeological’ style. Fontenay was no doubt inspired by the Campana collection of ancient jewellery, acquired by Napoleon III in 1860, and his firm produced much work in the antique style based on Greek, Roman and Etruscan examples.

Click the picture to see a close-up of this magnificent necklace.