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René Lalique Glass “Dragonflies and Ferns” Necklace

Formed of molded yellow-gold glass, 18K gold, enamel and diamonds, this “Libellules et Fougères” necklace by René Lalique dates from 1902-1904. It is composed of ten molded glass links designed as stylized dragonflies with subtle internal striations of color, diamond eyes and antennae, and wings of fern leaf motifs, joined by 18K gold and enamel stems. Among his few surviving large-form experiments in molded glass, this unusual and imaginative jewel represents the artist’s pioneering early work in inspired naturalism.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: YN-21549
Artist: René Lalique
Country: France
Circa: 1902-1904
Dimensions: 15" length, spikes 2" long x 1.5" wide
Materials: 40 old mine and 140 rose -cut diamonds (approximate total weight 1.50 carats); Enamel; 18K gold
Exhibition History: The Cleveland Museum, Artistic Luxury: Fabergé Tiffany Lalique, Stephen Harrison et al, cat. no. 144.
Literature: An original ink, pencil and gouache preparatory design for this necklace is pictured in Sigrid Barten, René Lalique: Schmuck und Objets d’Art, 1890-1910, p. 247 catalogue no. 348. A substantially similar design was auctioned by Sotheby’s December 17, 2021, lot 11. A detail of the necklace is illustrated in Jewels of Lalique, by Yvonne Brunhammer, p. 136. Finally , the necklace was pictured in Artistic Luxury: Fabergé Tiffany Lalique, Stephen Harrison et al, p. 48 cat. no. 144.

This necklace is among a small group representing Lalique’s early 1900s experimentation with fore fronting unusual materials - here, diamonds and enamel employed in service of the main artistic medium, molded glass, in a minimalist gold and enamel mount. Another member of this small group of jewelry is a necklace of stylized bunches of vitis vinifera grapes. It is housed in the collection of the Walters Gallery, Baltimore, purchased by Henry Walters directly from the artist at the St. Louis Exposition, 1904. In an evocation of the late summer forest and dragonflies, Lalique also depicts pteridium aquilinum, the eagle fern, a “cosmopolitan” variety with large triangular fronds that is widely distributed in North America and Eurasia. Lalique’s love of humble plants is represented by this ancient, familiar species, which provides a soft, translucent cover for the forest floor, and whose early shoots figure in cuisine of many cultures. The coloring evokes the later bracken stage of the plant’s life, when it provides a golden cover to the forest floor.