Antique Art Nouveau Diamond, Opal and Gem Set Dragonfly Brooch
Antique Art Nouveau dragonfly brooch. The wings, overlaid with thin, carved slices of translucent precious opal rest atop an intricate web of gold “veins”. Silver and gold thorax set with a single cushion-shaped diamond and an array of circular-cut demantoid garnets. Pair of circular-cut rubies serving as the dragonfly’s eyes. The wings and legs further embellished with rose-cut diamonds. Detachable brooch fitting. Width 7.2cm (=2.8 inches). Circa 1900s.
Flowers, insects, feathers and idealised female figures are typical subjects within Art Nouveau jewellery. The elaborate patterns of dragonflies and butterflies could be worked in enamel or their iridescent glow mimicked with mother of pearl, opals or abalone. Similarly the long tendrils of women’s hair and tree branches were stylised in gold, silver or even iron to create dynamic brooches, pendants or hair ornaments.
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