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Louis Tiffany and Tiffany & Co. Boulder Opal and Enamel Brooch


Created in the studio of Louis Tiffany, Tiffany & Co., this boulder opal and enamel brooch is mounted in 18K gold. An elongated oval in form, the brooch centers a bezel-set boulder opal cabochon with green and blue tones, exhibiting directional orange and red phenomenon and ironstone edges, within a delicate scrolling wirework frame of slightly bluish-green, blue, and purple plique-á-jour enamel, accented by minute gold beads. A beautiful jewel exhibiting exceptional unity of design, this small work of art exhibits Louis Tiffany’s capacity to generate beguiling color and light effects in unusual gems and enamel. 

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  • Curator's Notes

Item #: BO-20493
Artist: Louis Tiffany, Tiffany & Co.
Country: United States
Circa: 1900-1910
Size:  1.50” length x 0.75” width
Materials: 1 oval  cabochon boulder opal (measuring approximately 17.2 0 x 10.00 x 6.10 mm); Polychrome plique-a-jour enamel; 18K gold
Signed: Tiffany & Co.
Literature: Tiffany Jewels, John Loring, p. 175

Louis Tiffany favored the many varieties of opals, from the new Queensland “black” opals to Mexican fire opals. He seldom set gems in jewelry without enhancing the composition with enamel, which is of course a form of glass, his favorite artistic medium. Tiffany loved the phenomenal effects produced by opal’s molecular composition - layers of nano-sized hydrous silica spheres which are the source of its fugitive, multi-colored gleams. This type of opal, which has particular depth of color and stability, is sourced within boulders found in layers of clay situated above layers of ironstone host rock, and the process of their formation is still little understood. Tiffany was likely attracted to the fact that the opal is partially obscured and contained within its host rock, a reminder of the gem’s dark and mysterious source within the earth.