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René Lalique Art Nouveau Plique-à-jour Enamel, Opal and Pearl "Thistle of Lorraine" Bracelet

Created by René Lalique around 1901-1903, this plique-à-jour and basse-taille enamel, opal and freshwater pearl thistle of Lorraine bracelet is set in chased 18K gold. The bracelet is composed of rectangular links centering sugarloaf opals framed by plique-à-jour enamel thistle leaves, highlighted by basse taille enamel thistle flowers alternating with thistle seed heads, joined by baton links mounted with baroque freshwater pearls. An emotive expression of Lalique's profound attachment to cycles of nature and his home region of East France, this complex, alternating harmony of varied green and blue green enamel techniques is enhanced by the diffuse orient of satiny baroque pearls and the ever-changing spectral gleams of precious opal.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: BA-21366
Artist: René Lalique
Country: France
Circa: 1901-1903
Dimensions: 6.75" length.
Materials: 10 baroque freshwater pearls; 5 square cabochon opals; Plique-à-jour and basse-taille enamel; 18K Gold
Literature: A bracelet of this design appears in "Jewels of Lalique" by Yvonne Brunhammer, p. 188.

Lalique cherished the flora and fauna he encountered exploring nature as a child growing up in the Ay-Champagne, just west of the Lorraine, where he re-settled later in life. As a young art student, he enhanced these formative recollections of of meadows and forests with the formal study of botany. Lalique was so deeply attuned to the life stages of nature that he likened his own creative process to a harvest of inspiration from them. Lalique explained: "The harmony of a form, a pose, a gesture, a movement, imprints itself on my mind and does not leave, it combines with other compositional elements that I have seen; when this has been mulled over for a long time in my mind, the work is ripe, and I have only to pick it." Lalique depicted the entirety of the seasonal growth stages of particular plants, sometimes in one jewel, as here in the flower head and seed heads of the thistle, or also in series of designs depicting budding, flowering and wilting, such as "L'anémone de bois." The thistle of Lorraine had additional appeal for Lalique as a symbol of French patriotism, recalling the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to the Germans in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, and expressing the national longing for the return of these regions to France. Bracelets were jewels Lalique created in a relatively small quantity - thus, this form by the artist is a rare find.