Antique French Silver & 12k Gold Brooch, Enamel Plaque & Garnet Cabochon
A stunningly beautiful combination of early 1800s French artistry, with a Romantic themed copper plaque, kiln-fired enamel 'painting', and it's framed beautifully in a French silver mounting that has trim and bezel of 12k yellow gold, as well. Putti heads at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions, fleur de lis between and the motifs alternate with cabochons of rich red garnet. In total, a superb piece, nice and large. I'm not a brooch person, but I do love the look of these old brooches clamped over a strand of Mikimoto pearls, or in this case a Victorian or Georgian era garnet bead necklace would be wonderful with this as a sort of pendant, don't you agree? It's a simple way to get more enjoyment out of your antique brooch collection. Try it!
Very good to excellent condition, the enamel plaque is in Romantic style as that of the 1700s painting by French artists, Boucher, Fragonard and others (see their work in the Louvre), and it is without chips or cracks. Likewise, the remainder of the brooch is without damage, in very lovely condition. While we do not find French marks and should, it's often the case that in jewelry, they're too small to capture. We did find them on this brooch, confirming my initial assessment of it being French, even though use of 12k gold is unusual in French jewelry. You see the marks noted in our images. .800/1000 silver having been used, the French boar's head mark is the hallmark and guarantee, and you also see the diamond-shaped poincon (punch mark) of the silversmith/goldsmith, though we can't make it out well enough to research it.
NOTE re FRENCH ENAMEL: This process, which I've written about many times, is one only accomplished with the skill of years and years of practice. The enamel powders are various shades of muddy mauve, taupe, blues, not the least resembling the color they will become once the kiln melts them into the glassine or porcelain like finished product you see here. So an artist is layering on stroke after stroke, working quite literally blind as far as the colors and spacing of the finished outcome he/she hopes to achieve. It is the memory that guides the hand in this art. And subject to such whims of nature and memory, it's always amazing to me that they come out with anything but a glob. I've tried this art, myself, and believe me, it's very difficult. I mostly get globs. The nature of the process is part of the reason why these old kiln-fired objects have such a following and bring the prices they continue to bring.
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