Monday, March 25, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Froment-Meurice Bacchus Pendant, 1854

Coral Pendant with Pearls and Diamond Sparks
Froment-Meurice, Paris, 1854
The Victoria  & Albert Museum
In the mid-Nineteenth Centuries, jewelers and designers started to turn to historical images for inspiration, especially as archaeological discoveries were becoming more commonplace.

Take this pendant, for example. It looks back to the elaborate pendants of Renaissance Italy with their intricately sculpted gold. This is actually part of a handsome parure which also consists of two matching brooches. The pendant and brooches hold the distinction of being one of the last sets of jewels to be sold by the Paris jeweler François-Désiré Froment-Meurice before his death in 1855. Froment-Meurive’s widow would later show a similar pendant at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1855.

This pendant consists of a coral cameo depicting Bacchus in a sculpted gold frame decorated with winged mermaids and hung with pearls and diamond sparks. Coral, since ancient times, was believed to protect against the evil eye, and it was often worn by children or used in rosaries. By the Nineteenth Century, coral had become quite fashionable for both day and evening wear.

No comments: