• Rare Jewels and Objets d'Art:  auction at Christies

    Sale 2390

    Rare Jewels and Objets d'Art: A Superb Collection

    21 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1195

    AN ANTIQUE CHALCEDONY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND SCENT BOTTLE, BY BOUCHERON

    Price Realised  

    AN ANTIQUE CHALCEDONY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND SCENT BOTTLE, BY BOUCHERON
    Designed as a sculpted black chalcedony cat with carved emerald eyes, enhanced by a rose-cut diamond collar with a gold bell, the head opening to reveal a scent bottle with stopper, mounted in silver and 18k gold, circa 1895, 2¼ x 1 x 1½ ins., with French assay marks and maker's mark, in a red leather fitted case
    Signed FIC Boucheron for Frédéric Boucheron, Paris


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    Pre-Lot Text

    Frédéric Boucheron founded his firm in 1858 and with it, ushered in a new jewelry aesthetic for the 19th century. Before the French Revolution, jewelry design was fixated upon historic trends. Firstly, Napoleon III's Empress Eugénie de Montijo favored the gaudy fashion of Louis XVI's court dominated by fanciful bows and garlands. Secondly, archeological excavations of ancient empires in Italy and Egypt, along with the opening of the Suez Canel, stirred a lust for jeweled luxuries in the "antique" style. Boucheron broke convention by using the natural world as his greatest inspiration. This innovation manifested jewelry rooted in its own environment and specific to the France during the 19th century.

    Boucheron soon gained popularity worldwide because of his unseen originality. Along with his forward thinking style, Boucheron's success must also be attributed to his exclusive use of the best and most-rare materials, from diamonds and sapphires to ivory, horn and steel. The priceless quality of his works awarded Boucheron with an elite clientele. His high society patrons included international figures such as Queen Isabella of Spain, the Tsar of Russia and Sarah Bernhardt. These customers were drawn to his ability to capture a simplistic natural form such as a thistle-head or a house-pet, such as this antique scent bottle in the form of a cat. Designed as a carved chalcedony cat with emerald eyes, a diamond collar and a silver bell, it is transformed into an elegant showpiece. Boucheron's creativity infused common objects with personality and a timeless appeal which persists to this day.


    Literature

    Judith Price, Masterpieces of Twentieth Century French Jewelry from American Collections, Running Press, Philadelphia, 2006, page 47


    Exhibited

    Boucheron, 130 Années de Creation et d'Emotion, Institut de France, Musée Jacquemart-Andre, Paris, 16 September - 21 October 1988, exhibition catalogue, no. 163