Art Nouveau Enamel Pendant

Art Nouveau Enamel Pendant

I thought you may enjoy seeing this absolutely gorgeous gilded 800 silver cloisonné enamelled filigree pendant just in the Elder and Bloom Store.

If you are interested in learning more about enamel techniques in antique jewellery, you may enjoy these articles here.

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Art Nouveau Design Houses

Art Nouveau Design Houses

Here is an overview of four prominent Art Nouveau jewelry design houses:

LALIQUE, PARIS

1888 until present

Founded by Lalique, Rene (1860-1945)

Probably the most famous Art Nouveau Designer of all, Lalique’s jewelry designs are renowned for their delicate plique-à-jour enamel work and use of the female form.

Rene Lalique also sold designs to the great jewelry houses of Boucheron, Cartier and Verver.

 

KOCH, GERMANY 1879-1987
FOUNDED BY ROBERT AND LOUIS KOCH.

In 1883 Koch received the title of ‘Jeweler of the court’ and worked for European Royal families such as the Czar of Russia or the King of Italy.

VEVER, FRANCE, 1821 – PRESENT

Founded by Pierre Vever (1795 – 1853)

Known for fine, gem-set Art Nouveau jewelry and hair combs. One of Vever’s most famous designers was Eugene Grasset (1841-1917).

Henri Vever “La Bretonne” Pendant, circa 1900. Lang’s Jewelry University. 

FOUQUET, FRANCE, 1852-1936.

Founded by Alphonse Fouquet and taken over by his son, Georges Fouquet in 1895.

Known for naturalistic and sensuous Art Nouveau styles.

The company worked with the renowned artists and designers Charles Desrosiers, Alphonse Mucha and Etienne Tourette.

Fouquet Abalone Pearl and Plique-á-Jour Enamel Brooch with Chatelaine, 1901.
Photo Courtesy of Christie’s.

 

Sources / Further reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalique

http://www.lalique.com/en?gclid=CPCusPvp-9ICFRdmGwod7lMFGQ

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plique-à-jour

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Art Nouveau Manufacturers

Art Nouveau Manufacturers

Here is a list of some notable Art Nouveau Jewellery manufacturers. This is not a conclusive list but an additional overview. 

MURRLE BENNETT AND CO, LONDON, 1896-1914

Founded by Ernst Murrle and J.B Bennett.

The company produced Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles. Known for their Celtic inspired interwoven design and stylised foliate motifs.

 

GEORGE W. SHIELBER & CO., NEW YORK, 1876–1907

Founded by George W. Shielder.

The company became known for it’s silverwork and ‘Homeric’ and ‘Etruscan’ styles, incorporating ancient coin designs.

 

GORHAM MANUFACTURING COMPANY, RHODE ISLAND USA, 1831 – 1967

Founded by Jabez Gorham and Henry L. Webster.

The company is known for a wide variety of silver and foundry products and as a producer for Tiffany’s.  They were also a major producer of Art Nouveau jewelry.

 

BIPPART GRISCAM & OSBORN (AKA BIPPART & COMPANY), NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, USA, 1885 – 1920S?

Founded by Achill Bippart in 1886 and joined by Benjamin F Grishamin in 1893 and Bennett Osborn in 1897.

Known for fine enamelled gold Art Nouveau Jewelry.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sources / Further reading:

http://www.vandenbosch.co.uk/Jewellery/MB/MBPage.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorham_Manufacturing_Company

http://www.treasuresmagazine.com/treasures/feature_articles/may_2012/gorham-manufacturing-company

http://medallicartcollector.com/gorham.shtml

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Here is an overview of the key jewellery looks of the first six decades of the 20th century.

1900-1909

These years saw the continued explosion in the Art Nouveau Movement in all its forms. The styles evoked femininity, mystery, nature and were an homage to an imagined pre-industrial Eden of the past.

SEMIPRECIOUS STONES

Semiprecious stones such as opals, moonstones, turquoise, baroque pearls etc took a central place as the beauty of the piece was not necessarily defined by the agreed value of the materials.

ENAMEL WORK

Enamel work became prominent as the focus on artistry and craftsmanship dominated.

BIJOUTERIE

Bijouterie can be described as a piece valued for the delicacy of its design as opposed to the value of its materials. These more intricate pieces became prevalent as design took dominance over ostentatious displays.

NATURE THEMES

Nature themes were popular as people sought to connect with the simplicity and beauty of the pre-industrial era.

CELTIC MOTIFS

Celtic motifs were also popular as people romanticised  heritage and history in a rejection of the rapidly exploding modernity of the Western world.

THE FEMALE FORM

The  female form and visage became one of the eras most iconic motifs as a craving for femininity emerged as a response to the increasing mechanisation of society.

THE WHIPLASH MOTIF

The whiplash motif was a signature motif of this decade.

1910-1919

These years saw an emergence of elegance and a focus on gentile refinement. There was an emphasis on evening wear along with an adulation of aristocracy and nostalgia for the hey days of the fine royal courts of Europe, in particular Versailles.

THE LAVALIER

The lavalier became a popular item as the beauty of the décolleté was emphasised.

BANDEAUS AND AIGRETTES

Inspired by the natives of the New World,  bandeaus and aigrettes started to become popular (this fashion exploded in the 1920s)

BOWS AND SWAGS

Hearkening back to Rococo and Baroque design, bows and swags became recurrent motifs.

TIARAS AND HEADPIECES

Inspired by the glamorous royal courts of Europe, tiaras and headpieces became popular evening wear.

GARLAND NECKLACE

The garland necklace was popular as the beauty of the décolleté, neck and shoulder was focused upon.

COLLIERS DE CHIEN

Princess Alexander popularised this iconic style.

CAMEOS

The migration of many Italian cameo artists saw the popular emergence of cameos across Europe and the USA.

WHITE ON WHITE

White metals with white stones were the height of fashion with the emphasis on evening refinement and the desire to wear jewels that looked amazing by candle light (also inspired by the new vogue for luxury cruises.)

1920-1929

This decade saw the emergence of a new boyish and chic look.  Jewellery became streamlined, youthful, forward looking, minimalist, light and lean.

BANGLES AND CUFF BRACELETS

With the craze for dancing it was important to wear items with movement.

EGYPTIAN AND ETHNIC MOTIFS

The architectural discoveries of these years saw an emergence of revivalist motifs, as well as an idealisation for the styles of foreign lands as the European empires expanded.

FAN, CHEVRON, GEOMETRIC AND THE MACHINE AESTHETIC

With mechanisation and modernity there came an emphasis on machine-inspired designs.

VENETIAN GLASS AND CRYSTAL BEADS

As long sautoir necklaces became popular (perfectly for twirling while dancing), the artistry of venetian glass and the beauty of crystal was revered.

MACHINE CUT GEMSTONES

Gemstones were now cut by machine for the most part, rather than cut by hand.

TASSELS

There was a craze for tassel earrings and tassel necklaces and the movement they brought with them while dancing the latest dance crazes.

1930S

This decade brought the glamour and dram of the silent screen and black and white movies into the forefront of popular culture.

DIAMONDS

Diamonds became the most sought after gem, popularised by the silent screen actresses who wore them for their ability to sparkle on the screen.

STEPPED, CHEVRON AND CIRCLE MOTIFS

The continued fashion for modernism saw an emphasis on geometric, architectural and non-organic motifs.

FILIGREE SETTINGS

Filigree settings, particularly using white metals, became popular in this decade.

FLORAL MOTIFS

The simplicity and girlishness of floral motifs became prevalent.

DRESS CLIPS

Dress clips became the height of fashion

WHITE ON WHITE

The fashion for all white jewellery continued.

DIME STORE DECO

Dime stores sold inexpensive costume jewellery which made style available to everyone. These pieces became known as ‘dime store deco.’

COSTUME

The silver screen saw an emphasis on increasingly flashy costume pieces.

1940S

The austerity of the war years brought about a creative explosion in costume jewellery which made personal decor more accessible. It was not worn to display wealth but more as an expression of fun and levity, in contrast to the serious times.

RHINESTONES

Rhinestones became a popular and accessible stand-in for diamonds.

METAL AND WOOD

The scarcity of precious metals saw an explosion in creativity using readily available materials such as base metal and wood.

SURREALISM

The new surrealist art movements of Europe overlapped into the world of jewellery design.

PATRIOTIC PINS

It became de rigueur for every woman to wear a display of patriotism.

JELLY BELLY

These were pins with a rounded, polished lucite middle. Pioneered by Trifari in the 1930s but made popular by the head designer, Alfred Philippe, in the 1940s.

FLORAL MOTIFS

Floral motifs continued in popularity.

VERMEIL

Vermeil became popular as a replacement for solid gold.

STERLING SILVER

Sterling silver saw a surge in popularity as gold was less available.

BAKELITE AND OTHER PLASTICS

This decade saw a greater use of bakelite and other early plastics.

1950S

After the end of the Second World War, there was a return to the display of wealth. The love of sparkle and luxury returned with force but there was a retention of the fun and creative sensibilities of the previous decade.

FLORAL AND NATURAL THEMES

These motifs remained popular.

CHANDELIER EARRINGS

This glamorous style of earring became all the rage.

SCANDINAVIAN MODERN

The streamlined modernity of ‘Scandinavian Modern’ became sought after.

TEXTURED GOLD

Textured gold became fashionable.

BEADS AND PEARLS

GIs returning from Japan brought home strings of cultured pearls to their sweethearts and a string of pearls or other beads around the neck (usually in princess length) became standard.

FIGURATIVE BROOCHES

Artistry and fun was expressed through the fashion for figurative brooches.

COPPER JEWELLERY

Copper became a new innovative material to work with as a replacement for gold.

CHARM BRACELETS

Charm bracelets became an item every woman had to have.

PARURES

Perhaps as a symptom of nostalgia for the now long-gone Victoria era, parures (complete sets of matching jewellery) grew in popularity.

Further reading:

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/5/getting-clear-on-antique-and-vintage-eras-and-terms

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/6/art-deco-motifs

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

International Names for Art Nouveau

French Art Nouveau poster

The ‘New Art’ or ‘Art Nouveau’ Movement (1890-1914) was known by a variety of other names internationally.  Although each country had their own name for and interpretation of the Art Nouveau style, there were certain chief characteristics which united this design movement.  In this post, I am simply going to list the names for Art Nouveau in several major countries as I believe this knowledge is useful in the study of antique and period jewelry.

‘New Art’ or ‘Art Nouveau’ – Great Britain

‘Art Nouveau’ – France

‘Jugendstil’ – Germany and Norway and most Nordic Countries

‘Tiffany Style’ – USA

‘Stile Liberty’ – Italy

‘Sezessionstil’ – Austria

‘Secense’ – Czech lands

‘Arte Nova’ – Portugal

Sources / further reading:

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/art-nouveau.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau

Evaluating a Rolled Gold Phoenix Locket

phoenix art nouveau locket pendant victorian antique jewelry

In this post, I’d just like to discuss this rolled gold phoenix locket from my personal collection and breakdown how we can evaluate it.

There are several clues which help:

The first prominent clue is the fact that it has a maker’s mark from S & B Lederer & Co. This was a company founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 1878.  They later operated from Fifth Avenue in New York City. They produced gold plated and silver jewelry of good quality. They used a variety of signatures including S.B.& L, sometimes with an inverted triangle and sometimes with a star. They eased operations circa 1931 so we know this piece is from before 1931 and after 1878.

phoenix art nouveau locket pendant victorian antique jewelry

The style of the phoenix motif (created with repoussé and chasing, probably using a machine stamp) itself is very ‘Art Nouveau’.  The phoenix and mythical creatures in general were popular motifs in the Art Nouveau era.  However, it is the more the recurrent whiplash motif which genuinely place it as in the style of Art Nouveau. So we know that it is at least after the date of 1890, when Art Nouveau first came about and it is likely to be from before 1920, when Art Nouveau styles ceased to be the height of fashion (and we know it is not a replica because of the marker’s mark).

phoenix art nouveau locket pendant victorian antique jewelry

There are other clues to look at.  The barrel clasp on the necklace is indicative of a piece from before the 1940s, as after that date necklaces were made with the circular clasp we are familiar with.


phoenix art nouveau locket pendant victorian antique jewelry

Another clue is the rose hue of the gold.  Rose gold was very popular in the Victorian era. The gold actually tests as 9k rolled gold or gold fill. This places it after the date of 1844 when rolled gold was first introduced to the USA (I will discuss rolled gold more in a future post).  The fact that it is 9k rolled gold suggests that it from the Victorian era as 9k was very common in mid-priced jewelry like this.   But the biggest clue is that it has no hallmark for the gold purity. This places it from before 1906 as purity marks were required in the USA after that date, even for gold fill.

Some other clues to look at are the relatively large link size on the belcher or cable chain.  It was likely that although the links of this necklace were machine made, they might well have been assembled by hand. As mechanization improved, chains became finer and had smaller links. The length of the chain (it is 17 inches long, by 1920 longer chains were in fashion) also suggest it is from the late-Victorian era, as does the relatively large size of the pendant itself.

The glass paste gems are in imitation of diamonds and diamonds were very popular in the late Victorian era.  In addition, they appear to be foiled and possibly Swarovski Crystals, which place them after 1892.  They are cut, rather than molded, which make them higher quality and also indicate that they might be Swarovski Crystals.

phoenix art nouveau locket pendant victorian antique jewelry

So, all in all, we can say that this Art Nouveau 9k rolled gold American locket and belcher chain with glass paste gems is most likely from between the years of 1892 and 1906. As they were slightly later in adopting Art Nouveau style in the USA, it is likely to be towards the later end of these dates.

ps This beautiful locket is currently for sale here.

The Female Form in Art Nouveau Jewelry

Datei:Alfons Mucha - 1898 - Dance.jpg

Alfons Mucha, 1898
‘Dance’

Lady with Fan - Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt
Lady with Fan c. 1918

‘All art is erotic’ – Gustav Klimt

The Art Nouveau Movement (1890-1910) began at a time of great awakening in the attitudes and behaviors of Victorian era people.  Attitudes towards women were transforming rapidly and the early suffrage movements for women were already beginning in England. Women were experiencing more financial and political control and were breaking away from their traditional roles as objects to be repressed, controlled or utilized.  Femininity and sensuality now became core cultural values.  Gentle, flowing and frequently erotic sensibilities were expressed abundantly in art, design, literature and music. ‘The Art Nouveau Movement’, ‘Stile Liberty’, ‘Sezessionstil’, ‘The Aesethic Movement’, ‘The Arts and Crafts Movement’, ‘The Naturalism Movement’ and ‘Jugendstil’, along side the ‘Pre-Raphelites’, are just some of the terms given to or related to this cultural avalanche of beauty and art.

File:Lalique dragonfly.jpg

Work by Rene Lalique.

Jewelery, becoming altogether less structured in every way, was an expressive outlet for this new explosion of creativity. As women became free of the traditional restrictions of previous fashions, widely adopting ‘rational dress’ and looser hair styles, this new liberated female form was given expression in art and was a popular motif in the jewelry of the time. Long, flowing hair was the most commonly found feature as this seemed to be symbolic of all things feminine and carefree. Brooches and pendants were the most common type of jewelry to be decorated with the female form.

Rene Lalique Jewelry Pendant

Pendant, Rene Lalique

René Lalique. Glass and Metal Brooch. The cast and foiled golden-orange glass plaque depicts two crouching maidens among flowers and foliage.
Bonhams, Auction number 15236

The most popular female motif was the face of a young woman in profile, but the female form was expressed in every way, fully nude or loosely clothed.  Sometimes the woman would be presented with birds, flowers and insects; sometimes, as a hybrid creature.  Regardless of the form she took, she would always be shown to be romantic and ethereal, with the sublime beauty and grace that we love about all things Art Nouveau.

Pendant

Paris, 1901
Georges Van der Straeten
V&A Museum

Pendant

England, c. 1900-1901
A.C.C. Jahn
Pendant, partially gilded silver, ivory, opal and half-pearls
V&A Museum

Ring

England, 1901
A.C.C Jahn
Ring with chased gold and opal
V&A Museum 

Brooch of Leaves and Berries

Lalique, c. 1902, brooch ivory, enamels, gold, opals
Lalique Jewelry
Brooch, Lalique
Art nouveau pin by Catalonian jewelry maker Lluís Masriera.

Brooch by Lluis Masriera (1872-1958)

Sources / Further Reading:

https://pippatreevintage.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/the-art-nouveau-whiplash-motif/

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/art-nouveau-and-the-erotic/ 

http://www.antiquevaluers.co.uk/old_harlequins/articles/nouveau.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_dress_reform

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfons_Mucha

http://rlalique.com/rene-lalique-biography

The Art Nouveau Whiplash Motif

Embroidery, Hermann Obrist: The Lone Cyclamen
Munich City Museum
note the Art Nouveau ‘Whiplash’ motif

Brooch

France, c. 1901

Brooch, enameled copper set with opals and pearls

V&A Museum

The Art Nouveau Movement (1890-1910) was a design movement defined by many motifs, but none more so than the Whiplash Motif. The whiplash and curved motifs of Art Nouveau are seen as universally characteristic and are an easy way of recognizing an Art Nouveau piece. (Arts and Crafts Movement Jewelery, which many would define as a cousin of Art Nouveau, also uses the whiplash motif to a slightly lesser extent. Also it is important to note that there are many other names for Art Nouveau that I will be discussing in future posts).

Art Nouveau interior, featuring a profusion of whiplash and curved motifs

Whilst not all Art Nouveau design pieces contain whiplash or curved motifs, they are generally considered the most commonly found design feature.  Some would say Art Nouveau curves have their roots in Rococo Scroll Work, others would say they are inspired by Japanese or Celtic design elements.  Whilst all of these are no doubt true, I have always thought of the curves of Art Nouveau design as originating from something deep within us and to be a reflection of our biological nature. Arguably, all design is exactly this, but the curves of Art Nouveau seems to emanate from our deepest levels rather than directly referencing other design movements. These spirals, curves and whiplash-like shapes can be found in both the natural and man-made worlds.

For example, have a look for the Art Nouveau-like curves in the following:

Fibonacci_curve

Now, spot the whiplash and curved motifs in the following beautiful Art Nouveau jewelry pieces:

Pendant
Pendant gold, enamel, opal, pearl, diamonds
Lalique, c.1901
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Pendant

France c. 1900, Lucien Gautrait.

Gold decorated with ‘plique-à-jour’ enamel and set with rose- and brilliant-cut diamonds,

opals and emeralds with an opal drop

V&A Museum

Pendant

Germany, c.1903

Enamelled gold, set with brilliant-cut diamonds, emeralds,a ruby, hung with a pearl.

V&A Museum

Brooch

France, c. 1903. George Fouquet.

Brooch, gold, silver, enamel, pearls and rose- and brilliant-cut diamonds

V&A Museum

Sources / further reading:

http://paterry.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/constructing-growth-spirals/

http://thetextileblog.blogspot.de/2009/05/art-nouveau-whiplash.html

http://binarybeam.blogspot.de/2012/04/art-nouveau-new-art.html

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Art_Nouveau_Jewelry

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/art-nouveau-and-the-erotic/

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/study-room-resource-art-nouveau/

Enameling techniques of the Art Nouveau period

Enameling is one of the most expressive and stunning techniques for creating jewelry.  It was used extensively during the Art Nouveau period (1890-1910).  An endless array of  colorful and intricate designs were created by applying the enamel in a variety of ways which have become very much associated with the period.  Thanks to enamel’s hard wearing qualities, there are many surviving enameled pieces from the era for us to enjoy.

Enamel is created from silica, quartz, borax, lead and feldspar ground together into a fine power (basically, it is powdered glass). Metal oxides in powder form are then added to produce the colors.  This mixture is then fired at a very high temperature, resulting in the gorgeous, rich colors of enamel work with which we are familiar.  The metals that the enamel work are fired on must be able to withstand such high temperatures. A large amount of time and care is required on the part of the jeweler.  Enamel work truly showcases the jeweler’s artistry perhaps more than any other technique. Enameled jewelry from the Art Nouveau era is highly prized and collectible (and there are of course many replicas.)

There were six main methods of enamel work that were popular in the creation of Art Nouveau pieces.  These were as follows:

Cloisonné

birds
Art Nouveau Cloisonne enamel and glass piece with bird motif

Cloisonne is created by soldering or arranging fine gold or silver wire onto another metal to create a design.  The main metal it is soldered onto is often copper or bronze in the case of cloisonne, but it can also be gold or silver.  The enamel powder is then used to fill in the partitions created by the wires.  As the enamel tends to shrink when fired, often several firings are required.  At the end, the enamel is sanded to be level with the wire.

Plique-à-jour

Plique-à-jour enamel with small rose-cut diamonds in the veins c1900 by Louis Aucoc (1850-1932)

Plique-à-jour is the type of enamel work which most people think of when they think of Art Nouveau jewelry.  It is the most delicate method of enameling and tends to fetch the highest prices.  It is remarkable because the enamel is created with no metal backing, hence the translucent and stained glass like effect of the end result.  To achieve this, the enamel mixture is made to be very viscous.  Sometimes a thin mica or clay backing is used and then removed after the firing.  Thin metal, which burns away during firing, can also be used.  Plique-à-jour looks truly stunning when held up to the light. Plique-à-jour means ‘letting in the day’ in French.

Champlevé

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Art Nouveau open work Champlevé button
Champlevé enamel work is created by first making cut out hollowed designs in the metal.  These hollowed out places are then filled with the enamel mixture and fired.  This is repeated as many times as necessary and then polished.  Copper and brass bases are often used with Champlevé as well as gold and silver. Champlevé means ‘raised field’ literally in French.

Basse-taille

Basse-taille button

Basse-taille is created by engraving the design into the metal, usually gold or silver.  The entire piece is then covered in translucent enamel so that the engraved low relief design shows through. Different effects can be created by adding different amounts and colors of enamel in different locations. Basse-taille literally means ‘shallow cut’.

Niello

niello

Art Nouveau Niello detail

Niello is usually classified as a kind of enameling technique although it is not a true enamel.  Instead of the powdered glass enamel, a mixture of sulphur, lead, copper and silver is used.  The design is engraved in the metal and then the mixture is applied.  The piece is then fired.  When it is polished, all of the mixture is removed apart from that which is left inside the engraving.  The result is always black; niello looks different from black enameling because it doesn’t have the same glassy effect and is more metallic seeming.

Taille d’epargné

detail

Taille d’épargne detail

Taille d’épargne was popular in the mid 1800s but was also used by Art Nouveau jewelry artisans.  The design was cut deeply into the metal and then filled, fired and polished.  Although any color can be used for the enamel, black or blue was generally favored. Taille d’épargne means “sparing cut” literally in French.

I hope this article helped give you an overview of the six different enameling techniques that were used in the creation of Art Nouveau jewelry and will be useful to you when you are identifying antique jewelry.  I will certainly be talking much more about antique enameled jewelry in the future as there is much to say about these stunning pieces.