A sublime antique Plique-a-Jour enamel silver brooch fashioned in the form of a stylized Gingko leaf. The brooch is stamped with a German patent mark and also a makers mark that we are unable to read.
Circa 1900, this sinuous brooch is iconic of the Art Nouveau movement and is a miniature work of art. Superb quality, it is rendered in 800 silver and showcases beautiful Plique-à-Jour enamel work in blue and green and set with tiny split pearls at the edges of the leaf. A rare natural freshwater Mississippi river pearl dangles from the base, the uncultured pearl is tooth shaped.
The enamel technique Plique-à-jour (French for "letting in daylight") is a vitreous enamelling technique where translucent enamel is applied in cells so light can shine through. A miniature version of stained-glass, it extremely challenging technically with a high failure rate. German Plique-à-Jour jewellery hailing from the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) era is particularly desirable and highly collectable today.
MATERIALS: 800 silver, enamel
GEMSTONES: 8 natural split seed pearls 2.5mm diameter, 1 Mississippi river pearl drop 8.5x7.5mm
MEASUREMENTS: 1-1/2 inches across and 1-3/4 inches high (approx. 38x45mm)
DATE: 1900, Art Nouveau/Jugendstil period
WEIGHT: 4 grams
HALLMARKS: Stamped '800' along with an intertwined makers mark, possibly 'HL' the makers mark for Henrich Levinger & Bissinger, Pforzheim, Germany. Also stamped "Gesc HU" (for Geschutzt, a German term for patent protected).
CONDITION: Excellent antique condition with no enamel loss and the pin back in perfect working order. The pearl drop looks jagged at the base in the photos but the edges are smooth so it is likely its natural form and not breakage.
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