Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mastery of Design: The Treskow Fish Brooch, 1953

Treskow, 1953
The Victoria & Albert Museum

From the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, we have a brooch which plays on the tradition of the Victorian and Edwardian ideals of creating jewelry in Naturalistic forms. This brooch, clearly modern in design, takes the form of a fish--the eye suggested by a sapphire set into a depression lined with granulation, the scales are indicated by diamonds set into lozenges of granulation. A baroque pearl is set into the upper part of the tail fin.

While jewelry had always been “wearable art,” in the early post-war years, jewelers really began to play with this idea and the concept that jewels allowed the expression of the character of the wearer as much as that of the designer. Jewels of this period are defined by abstract designs which bend the traditional through the use of Naturalistic motifs which are heightened by stones with unconventional shapes and asymmetrical composition.

This is the work of Elisabeth Treskow whose early jewelry follows the Bauhaus principles. In the 1920s, Treskow showed her interest in ancient jewelry—incorporating ancient gems in many of her contemporary pieces. Treskow owned a large collection of ancient jewels which she bequeathed to the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, in Cologne.

Treskow was particularly fascinated by the Etruscans, and explored the technique of granulation in which minute grains of gold are applied to the surface without of a piece without using solder. This fish shows her desire to revive the technique of granulation. 

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