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Brenda Ginsberg Antique Jewelry

Antique French brooch elephant gold rubies plique a jour enamel Maharaja (7218)

Antique French brooch elephant gold rubies plique a jour enamel Maharaja (7218)

Regular price $10,000.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $10,000.00 USD
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Antique, Art Nouveau Art Deco clip brooch. 18k gold, plique a jour enamel, enamel, rubies. Made in France early 1900's.  

Measurements: Weight is 25.1 grams. Top to bottom is slightly under 2 inches (5cm).


Description :
A fairly large, circular brooch depicting a scene from India of the late 19th to early 20th century. A large elephant in the center, beautifully modelled with a red enamelled carpet saddle on his side. A mahout sits up front, near his large flapping ear. Behind him, in a basket is the rider (Maharajah or Nabob), dressed in a red jacket and pale blue turban. 4 figures march alongside in single file. Each is dressed differently, representing a variety of Indian characters. Each figure has a different set of colors and different colored turban on his head. They are united by their swinging arms.

Beneath this group is a carpet of modelled flowers in gold, each set with an enamelled red center. Each flower is of a different size and is individually made. The glowing red enamel centers mirror the cabochon rubies set in an arc near the top of the brooch. It is identical to the enamel within the trellis-pattern of the carpet. The color is further picked up by red turbans, trousers and the red carpet.

The whole group is placed within a backdrop of jungle, created from plique a jour enamel set in gold. Long, swaying foliage with gold details overlap one another. Gold beads form a tassle below the red saddle carpet. Plique a jour in various shades of green and blue-greens.

Wonderful detail - while seemingly a simple scene, it is in fact a complex work of art with many facets and overlapping layers.

Jewelry depicting elephants is very rare and sought after. We have seen one brooch by Cartier, made to celebrate the Delhi Durbar of 1911. This brooch could have been made during the same period, or for a specific Maharaja or other great Indian ruler. The plique a jour hints at an earlier period (late 19th century / Art Nouveau), while the strong design and bright enamelling is more typically Art Deco (1920-1925).

The workmanship of this brooch is fabulous - a great example of the best French quality and luxury. The brooch manages to combine superb quality with a sense of child-like humor and awe at the huge, graceful and powerful animal, the color and intrigue of the little humans alongside. The huge plique a jour foliage reflects the immensity of the jungle.

Marks and Metal: French DEPOSE mark and W55 near hinge under pins; eagle head (French 18k gold) on bar below flowers, makers mark lozenge on side; marks on pins.

Condition: In general, condition is good with minor wear commensurate with age. Plique a jour in relatively good shape with no major cracks or losses. Most of the colored enamel is in perfect shape except for the red saddle blanket on the elephant, which has surface losses, possibly original to the firing as it's difficult to understand how they came about afterwards. These are shown magnified many times in the pictures. Please see pictures and don't hesitate to ask questions which we will do our best to answer.
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