Are you familiar with plique-a-jour enamel, my dears? It’s a beautiful technique – light and ethereal, reminiscent of stained glass. It was especially popular in the Art Nouveau period, because of how well it fit that era’s delicate, nature-inspired themes.
Our trio of beauties today are all Belle Epoque, from the early 20th century. They exhibit a combination of early Edwardian and Art Nouveau aesthetics that I find irresistible: delicate, colorful, and absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t choose between them, so you get to see all three.
Kicking things off with the first of the three plique-a-jour pieces to catch my eye: how gorgeous is this thing? I think it looks like a rose window from a European cathedral.
This piece dates to the year 1900 and features translucent plique-a-jour enamel in shades of blue, green, yellow and pin/red accents with sweeps of diamonds and gorgeous openwork. It’s a pendant, but also features a pin fitting for wear as a brooch. In white gold.
Plique-a-jour piece #2 shares some of the first piece’s mandala/rose window feeling, with with a more abstract center design. You see the same butterfly-wing delicate use of plique-a-jour, shaded delicately with color, combined with classic Edwardian design aesthetic.
This one looks to me like someone took watercolor paints to an Edwardian brooch. I’m really into it.
#3 is the most unusual, and therefore the most fascinating (even though both of the first two are exceptionally beautiful).
First things first: the center element of this design is a Star of David, which I think is awesome. I see so much cross jewelry that it’s delightful to happen upon a beautiful antique with the symbol of the religion I was raised in. Way to go, mystery Edwardian Jew.
The workmanship on the star is beautiful: if you follow the lines, you’ll see that the lines of diamonds that make up the star weave in and out of each other like ribbons. It’s then surrounded by what I’m calling an echo of diamonds in star shape, creating a very glamorous and almost Art Deco feeling geometric center.
Outside of that are sprays of pearls, each centered by a bezel-set diamond.
Finally, the plique-a-jour elements in this piece. Let’s be real: these are cannabis leaves, aren’t they? Lang Antiques calls it in their description, and I have to agree.
Is there anything else they could be? Have you ever seen a piece like this before? It’s crazy!! And awesome .
These plique-a-jour enamel beauties are all currently for sale at Lang Antiques. All images and info are thanks to Lang Antiques.