Art Deco

Art Deco Series Day 5 – Gardens in Miniature

AD Gardens feature

Not all jewelry of the 1920s and 30s were dominated by bold, geometric shapes:  the giardinetto and tutti-frutti styles also enjoyed enthusiastic fanfare in the form of brooches.  Earlier this year, I wrote about Cartier’s tutti-frutti bracelets, but not the style’s brooches.

Diamond and Carved Colored Stone Pendant-Brooch - Doyle

Diamond and Carved Colored Stone Pendant-Brooch – Doyle
Platinum, topped by a stylized branch and flower centering one old European-cut diamond approximately .60 ct., set throughout with 42 old European and single-cut diamonds approximately 2.25 cts., accented by 9 small round sapphires and rubies, embellished by 5 carved emerald, sapphire and ruby leaves, circa 1935, pendant loops added later, approximately 9.8 dwt.

The sister style to tutti-frutti that also shared the limelight during Art Deco is giardinetto, which means “little gardens” in Italian.  Originating in Italy in the late 17th century, this term referred to a piece of jewelry, usually a ring or a brooch, with an intricate, openwork floral motif comprised of colorful gems arranged to resemble flowers, berries and/or leaves and often arranged in a vase or basket.  Sapphire, ruby and emerald combinations were very common, with the stones often carved to resemble actual leaves or petals.  The vibrant hues of this precious stone triumvirate perfectly suited the color contrasting aspect of art deco jewelry, made all the brighter with the surrounding pavé diamond accents.

GEM-SET AND DIAMOND 'FLOWER BASKET' BROOCH, TIFFANY & CO., CIRCA 1930 - Sotheby's

GEM-SET AND DIAMOND ‘FLOWER BASKET’ BROOCH, TIFFANY & CO., CIRCA 1930 – Sotheby’s
Modelled as a basket of flowers, highlighted by leaves and buds set with carved rubies, emeralds and sapphires, decorated with black enamel, baguette and circular-cut diamonds together weighing approximately 1.50 carats, mounted in platinum, signed.

With its resurgence in popularity in the 1920s, these miniature gardens adorned ladies not only in brooch and ring forms but as earrings, pendants and, of course, bracelets.  However, the brooch continued to be the most popular medium through which jewelers could create their most verdant and fruitful baskets, vases or flower pots bearing the brightest flora in sparkling gems.  The multitude of precious hanging gardens evoked the magnificent splendor of the Roaring Twenties, with perfectly manicured gardens and exotic flower arrangements in rare antique vases enjoyed by the privileged few whose opulent mansions they adorned.

A diamond and multi gem-set 'tutti frutti' brooch, by Cartier, circa 1930. - Bonhams

A diamond and multi gem-set ‘tutti frutti’ brooch, by Cartier, circa 1930. – Bonhams
The highly stylised shrub set throughout with brilliant and triangular-cut diamonds and carved emeralds, rubies and sapphires, the whole issuing from a brilliant, square and baguette-cut diamond urn, diamonds approximately 4.50 carats total, signed Cartier NY, height 5.6cm, Cartier case

Cartier is perhaps the most prolific in creating tutti-frutti and giardinetto art deco jewels, finding inspiration from the carved gems and colorful stones inherent of Indian jewelry.  Nevertheless, other jewelers such as Mauboussin and Van Cleef & Arpels dabbled in the garden motif as well, creating stunning brooches, pendants and earrings in the groomed garden’s image.

PLATINUM, RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD AND DIAMOND PENDANT-WATCH, MAUBOUSSIN, CIRCA 1930 - Sotheby's

PLATINUM, RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD AND DIAMOND PENDANT-WATCH, MAUBOUSSIN, CIRCA 1930 – Sotheby’s
The jardinière suspended from a stylized bar pin, set with a table-cut ruby, cabochon and carved rubies, cabochon and carved sapphires, carved and buff top calibré-cut emeralds, and baguette and single-cut diamonds weighing approximately 2.00 carats, the reverse showing an oval dial with Arabic numerals, manual movement, signed Mauboussin, France, numbered 93633, one diamond missing.

AN ART DECO DIAMOND, MULTI-GEM AND ENAMEL SAUTOIR, BY MAUBOUSSIN - Christie's

AN ART DECO DIAMOND, MULTI-GEM AND ENAMEL SAUTOIR, BY MAUBOUSSIN – Christie’s
Suspending a pendant, designed as a circular, single and old European-cut diamond vase, centering upon a carved hexagonal cabochon emerald, extending carved ruby, sappire and emerald blossoms and leaves, enhanced by black enamel detail, from an onyx hoop, to the neckchain, designed as a series of circular-cut diamond links, each centering upon a carved ruby leaf, enhanced by calibré-cut sapphires and emeralds, alternating with single-cut diamond and calibré-cut emerald barrel-shaped links, enhanced by onyx and black enamel detail, mounted in platinum, 1927, with French assay mark and maker’s mark (indistinct)
By Mauboussin, no. 025755
With certificate of authenticity dated 9 November 2009 from Mauboussin, stating that the pendant and neckchain are recorded in the archives as nos. 90234 and 90269, dated 22 June and 1 July 1927, respectively

Pre-Lot Text (from Christie’s)

Mauboussin has a long and illustrious history, beginning in 1827 when Mr. Rocher and Baptiste Noury established a jewelry shop in Paris. In 1850, Noury assumed control of the business which, in 1896, was transferred to his nephew, Georges Mauboussin. During the first four decades of the new century, Mauboussin contributed exhibits to the major international expositions including Milan in 1923 and 1924; Strasbourg, 1924; New York, 1939; and Paris, 1925, 1931 and 1937. At the 1925 Exposition des Arts Dcoratifs in Paris, they were awarded the Grand Prix and, for his contributions to the world of joaillerie, Georges Mauboussin was given the prestigious “Legion d’Honneur.”

During the 1920s, the firm maintained branches in London, Buenos Aires, New York and Palm Beach. Mauboussin is most noted for their creations during this decade, at the height of the art deco period when they produced not only important designs in the rectilinear style characteristic of the decade but they also introduced truly remarkable jewelry that has come to be known as “Tutti Frutti” or “fruit salad.” These jewels featured naturalistically engraved gemstones in leaf, berry and blossom shapes that were based on the Islamic flower cult of the Mughal emperors. Although these gemstones were not as valuable as perfectly cut stones, their polychromatic effects were so striking that they became sought after by discriminating clients during the period.

This sautoir is an example of the best “Tutti Frutti” offerings from Mauboussin in which the engraved gemstones are incorporated into the design of both the pendant and neck chain. The “Vase de fleurs” pendant is made up of a hexagonal diamond-set flower pot centered by an emerald engraved with a flower. Out of the pot grows a diamond-set stem from which spring engraved ruby and sapphire flowers and emerald leaves. As a nod to the geometrical paradigm of the period, on either side of the floral bouquet is a stepped contour, reflective of the abstract patterning found on the architecture of ancient civilizations such as Babylonian ziggurats and stepped Mayan and Aztec temples. A small black onyx sphere on each step softens the pure linear design which could otherwise have been static.

A simple black onyx ring joins the pendant to the neck chain. The latter consists of alternating links of floral clusters, each with an engraved ruby blossom surrounded by emeralds, sapphires and diamonds, and separated by onyx rings to diamond, emerald and black onyx barrel shaped links. As a remarkable feature of this necklace, its reverse which is just as beautifully crafted as the obverse with all the engraved gemstones also engraved on the underside.

Mauboussin created “Tutti Frutti” necklaces at the end of the 1920s, featuring them in their Vogue advertisements in December 8, 1928, November 9 and December 7, 1929. The drawing for the pendant is illustrated in Mauboussin by Marguerite de Cerval (Paris: Editions du Regard, 1992), page 79; a sketch for the sautoir is included on page 8 of the firm’s promotional book, Mauboussin Joaillier

 

 

 

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