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The Art of Fin-de-Siècle Jewelry

On 20 September 2021, by Philippe Dufour

In Lyon, two imposing necklaces conjured up the balls and evening festivities of the 1880s. They were accompanied by a flowery group typical of the imaginative Sixties.

The Art of Fin-de-Siècle Jewelry

Beaumont & Cie in Lyon. "Drape" necklace, before 1890, articulated white gold, antique- and rose-cut diamonds and round rubies (total weight of diamonds approx. 10 ct; rubies: 8 ct), length: 40 cm/15.7 in to 43 cm/16.9 in with extension, gross weight: 61.7 g/2.18 oz.
Result: €18,800

A highly Proustian necklace, one of those poetic "rivers of diamonds", shone out in first place. The yellow gold and silver piece is transformable and has a delicate stylized fleur-de-lys decoration entirely set with a string of antique-cut diamonds alternating with roses, weighing some 23 ct all in all (length of necklace: 41 cm/16.1 in). This choker can be transformed into two bracelets (the longer one measuring 21.5 cm/8.5 in), while the central motif can be mounted on a brooch or comb, while the two remaining parts become pendants. The shaped case reveals the possible transformations below. It took €27,550 to carry off this French piece c. 1870, with a "horse's head" hallmark (gross weight: 73.5 g/2.6 oz).

Another necklace, this time in a "drape" style, garnered €18,800 (length 40 cm/15.7 in, with a 3 cm/1.2 in extension, gross weight 61.7 g/2.2 oz: see photo). This articulated white gold set, consisting of French work from before 1890 by the Lyon-based firm Beaumont & Cie, is entirely set with antique- and rose-cut diamonds, with nineteen pendants with stylized fleur-de-lys adorned with alternating round rubies (total weight of diamonds approx. 10 ct, with 8 ct of rubies).

A platinum "Pompadour" ring was also designed in around 1900, sporting a large oval "Intense Blue" sapphire from Ceylon. It weighs 13.60 ct, and is surrounded and flanked by half-cut and antique-cut diamonds (gross weight 10.2 g/0.4 oz). This went for €25,300.

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