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Complimentary gift wrap & shipping - Order before 12/22

Jean Després Paris Modernist Hammered Silver and Onyx Necklace


Created in the 1950s by jeweler-artist Jean Després, this Modernist necklace is composed of silver and onyx. The necklace is composed of twelve hand-hammered silver spheres joined by square trace links, and completed by a box clasp set with a black onyx tablet. With its tactile surface characterized by irregular, gleaming silver hammered planes contrasting with dark patination, Jean Després’ artistic hand playfully harmonizes geometry, texture and volume in this sculptural Modernist necklace.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: N-20519
Artist: Jean Després, Paris
Country: France
Circa: 1950s
Size:  22” length;  1.5” diameter of spheres
Materials: Silver; Onyx
Signed: Makers mark JD in lozenge
Literature: A necklace similar to this with black lacquered  and silver balls is featured in Jean Despres Bijoutier et orfevre entre Art Decoet modernite and was shown as part of the 2009 exhibition at the Musèe des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Pictured in Jean Despres Bijoutier et orfevre entre Art Decoet modernite, by Melissa Gabardi, norman  editions, 2009, page 4. 

An early member of the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM), Després frequented a wide artistic circle that included Miró and Le Courbusier, as well as other avant-garde jewelers such as Georges Sandoz and Jean Fouquet. His fascination with the natural sculptural qualities of machine parts, and the way they achieve equilibrium working as a whole mechanism, informed his most important work. Influenced by the movement set off by architect Adolf Loos and his radical 1907 essay “Ornament and Crime”, the UAM jewelers adopted a manifesto of hostility to extraneous ornament and traditional precious materials, seeking to express modernity in spare, abstract, dynamic forms in order to break completely with the past.