IMPORTANT 20TH CENTURY JEWELS FROM A DISTINGUISHED COLLECTION
This stunning orchid brooch was created by Tiffany & Co., and inspired by the orchids designed by Tiffany's chief designer Paulding Farnham for the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris. The orchids had generated such interest during the exhibition that the company received a gold medal for their display, clearly establishing the American firm's reputation on the international market.
The fascination with orchids reached its zenith during the last quarter of the 19th century and they were regarded as a symbol of wealth and prestige. Martin Johnson Heade, a Hudson River School painter, traveled to Brazil to capture these exotic flowers on canvas and inspired collectors and admirers alike. Tiffany & Co. had actual specimens brought to their studio from such locales as Mexico, India, Guatemala and the Philippines to serve as models for their line and preserved them in copper.
Demand for the orchids prompted Tiffany & Co. to continue producing them and in 1880 they chose to add another fifteen varieties to the already existing twenty-four. This Lady's Slipper orchid is Britain's rarest and most impressive orchid. Of the Phalaenopsis Calceolus variety, these exotic looking flowers have claret petals that frame a beautiful bright yellow pouch. The specific name calceolus derives from the Latin for 'shoe', and like the English name of this orchid, refers to the slipper-like appearance of the pouch. Each stem usually supports one or two flowers, but rarely three. The leaves have obvious nerves along their length and are mid-green in color.