jewellery & ornaments

Art Nouveau Hair ornament, made by Philippe Wolfers, Belgium,1905-1907.

The maker of this orchid hair ornament, Philippe Wolfers, was the most prestigious of the Art Nouveau jewellers working in Brussels. Like his Parisian contemporary René Lalique, he was greatly influenced by the natural world. These exotic orchids feature in the work of both. The technical achievement of enamelling in plique-a-jour (backless) enamel on these undulating surfaces is extraordinary.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Moche silver nose ornament decorated with gold intertwined serpents, dated to 390 to 450 CE. Found in Peru, the nose ornament is currently located in the Met.

From the source:

Nose ornaments made of precious metals were worn by the elite in Peru beginning in the middle of the first millennium B.C.; they remained in fashion for over a thousand years, until about 700 A.D. Among the Moche people of the north coast, they were an essential part of royal costume. This handsome crescent is made of silver and came from the site of Loma Negra in the Piura Valley. It is so big it would have covered the wearer’s lower face when suspended from the nasal septum. It has a gold border of intertwined “eared” serpents, their profile faces with toothy mouths and split tongues appearing at the top on either side of the ornament. Attached to the serpent bodies with small pieces of gold wire are numerous gold disks, which would have moved and glittered with the slightest movement of the wearer. The “eared” serpent was a mythological creature often depicted in ancient Peruvian art with feline characteristics such as whiskers and fangs.

Moche metalworkers often combined two metals on fancy ornaments. In addition to the aesthetic appeal, joining gold and silver may have had symbolic meaning, perhaps expressing ideas of duality and complementarity.

A COLLECTION OF VARIOUS TUMBLR USERS’ FAVOURITE WORDS

absolution; act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release fromconsequences, obligations, or penalties.

acquiesce; accept something reluctantly but without protest.

asterismos; a rhetorical term for an introductory word or phrase that has the primary function of calling attention to what follows.

astronomy; the scientific study of matter and phenomena in the universe, especially in outer space, including the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial objects.

ataraxia; a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquillity.

aura; a distinctive and pervasive quality or character; atmosphere.

boisterous; noisy, energetic, and cheerful.

bling; a slang term popularized in hip hop culture, referring to flashy, ostentatious, or elaborate jewellery and ornamented accessories

brontide; a low muffled sound like distant thunder heard in certain seismic regions especially along seacoasts and over lakes and thought to be caused by feeble earth tremors.

burgundy; a deep red colour like that of burgundy wine.

cacophony; a harsh discordant mixture of sounds.

camaraderie; mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.

capricious; guided by whim rather than reason.

cosmic; relating to the universe or cosmos, especially as distinct from the earth.

decadence; moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.

defenestration; the action of throwing someone out of a window, or, the action or process of dismissing someone from a position of power or authority.

effervescent; vivacious and enthusiastic.

eloquence; fluent or persuasive speaking or writing.

ephemeral; lasting for a very short time.

epinephrine; another term for adrenaline.

epistemology; the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.

ethereal; extremely delicate and light in a way that seems not to be of this world.

eunoia; comes from the Greek word εὔνοια, meaning “well mind” or “beautiful thinking.”

fantastical; based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal.

furtive; attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive.

gossamer; a light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate material or substance.

halcyon; denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.

ineffable; too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.

intoxication; the state of being intoxicated, especially by alcohol.

lactescere; (Latin) to turn to milk.

leonine; of or resembling a lion or lions.

loquacious; tending to talk a great deal; talkative.

machiavellian; cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics.

mischievous; causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way.

momentum; the impetus gained by a moving object.

myriad; a countless or extremely great number of people or things.

nebulae; a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter.

nefarious; (typically of an action or activity) wicked or criminal.

nonchalant; feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm.

opalescence; the quality of being opallike, or milkily iridescent. 

obligatory; required by a legal, moral, or other rule; compulsory.

orphic; of or relating to Orpheus or Orphism.

parenthetical; relating to or inserted as a parenthesis (explains or qualifies something).

partial; existing only in part; incomplete.

pastiche; an artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period.

petrichor; a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

phosphenes; a sensation of a ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light.

plethora; a large or excessive amount of something.

pleasure; a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.

pretentious; attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.

prosaic; having or using the style or diction of prose as opposed to poetry; lacking imaginativeness or originality, commonplace; unromantic.

resilience; the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

ricochet; a bullet or other projectile rebound off a surface.

sempiternal; eternal and unchanging; everlasting.

serendipitous; occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

sphere; a round solid figure, or its surface, with every point on its surface equidistant from its centre.

soliloquy; an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.

sonorous; (of a person’s voice or other sound) imposingly deep and full.

tenebrific; causing gloom or darkness.

twilight; the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere.

vespertide; the period of vespers; evening.

vicissitude; a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.

waltz; a ballroom dance in triple time performed by a couple or to act casually, confidently, or inconsiderately.

René Lalique, Diamond and enamel swallow brooch/hair ornament combination, circa 1890.

Rose-cut and old mine diamonds weighing approximately 2.40 carats, mounted in gold and silver, maker’s mark, French assay marks, brooch fitting detachable, together with 2 haircomb attachments. With fitted box signed LaCloche Frères.

Similar brooch by René Lalique illustrated in Yvonne J. Markowitz and Elyse Zorn Karlin, Imperishable Beauty: Art Nouveau Jewelry, p.88.

Sotheby’s.