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The gallery will be closed Monday, 5/27 for Memorial Day
The gallery will be closed Monday, 5/27 for Memorial Day

Louis Comfort Tiffany at Tiffany & Co. Favrile Glass Scarab Brooch

This Louis Comfort Tiffany brooch dating from circa 1909 is composed of favrile glass scarabs and gold. The oval form is bezel-set with 10 glass scarabs with iridescent blue, indigo and green tones, within a delicate wire mount highlighted by gold spherules. A rare and collectible Louis Comfort Tiffany brooch of unusual materials, this brooch represents a classic innovation of the artist in the early to middle period of his work in the medium, when he was most engaged in the creation of experimental jewelry.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: BO-21184
Artist: Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co.
Country: United States
Circa: 1909
Dimensions: 1.75" length, 3" width
Materials: Favrile Glass; Gold; With signed box
Signed: Tiffany & Co., with scratched number, possibly A7820
Literature: Jewelry dating from the period 1909-1914 featuring iridescent glass scarabs is pictured in: Janet Zapata, The Jewelry and Enamels of Louis Comfort Tiffany, p. 103-105

With their combination of simple naturalism and powerful symbolism of resurrection, favrile glass scarabs represent an important motif and medium in Louis Comfort Tiffany's work. In his decades-long career of experimentation in creating precious artistic objects, Tiffany drew inspiration across many cultures and media, with nature as his touchstone. Tiffany had an intense interest in Egyptian art and collected a number of ancient scarabs. The spectral colors produced by his innovative treatment of the glass resembles real beetles' natural iridescence. At the same time, the iridescent surface evokes the look of long buried ancient glass, a nod to the fact that the importance of the scarab symbol spans millennia, and was a subject of contemporary fascination in the early 20th century art world. Here, the setting of the scarabs in delicate handmade bezel mountings approximates the way Egyptian goldsmiths mounted them in so-called "heart scarab" pendants. At the time this brooch was created, the head of his jewelry studio was Julia Munson, an important early partner in some of his strongest work. The appearance of "Beetle" jewelry in the Tiffany Blue Book around 1909 helps to date this work within the evolution of their designs. The presence of a scratched inventory mark suggests that closer dating may be possible at some point, should the Tiffany Archives pursue in further study of the jewelry studio record books.