Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was the son of Charles Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co. His training in design began at an early age and was greatly influenced by his travels to Europe, the Near East and especially North Africa as it was here that he became consumed with color, light and varying hues that were rarely seen in the mainstream American artists' works. His capacity to create a scope of work that included not only jewelry but glass, enamel, silver, pottery, lamps, furniture, paintings and textiles is a testament to his infallible creativity.
Louis Comfort was not pre-occupied with the traditional choice of important diamonds and pearls, the wide spread utilization of platinum or even with a gemstone's quality. His primary consideration was how a gemstone, given its color and ability to diffuse and transform light, could convey the design and feeling he was trying to achieve. An ardent champion of American gemstones, he frequently utilized tourmalines from Maine, freshwater pearls from the Mississippi and most notably, the periwinkle-hued sapphires from the Yogo Gulch in Montana, as seen in this piece. Distinctly recognizable for their unique color and brilliance, their international debut came during the 1889 Exposition in Paris at which Tiffany & Co. introduced a collection of jewelry entirely of American origin. The hidden meaning of stones was also taken into consideration. Black opals, such as the one used in this piece, representing the feathers of peacocks, were the sign of immortality in Far Eastern cultures. Louis Comfort also held a particular fondness for the blue and green color combination. Here, small demantoid garnets are purposefully placed and contrast the hue of the Montana sapphires. Together, the brilliance of these gemstones enhances the green and blue colors of the opal. Another wonderful detail employed in this pendant necklace is the delicate filigree on both the front and reverse, which will never be seen by anyone other than the wearer herself. Louis Comfort's attention to balance and detail can even be found on the clasp, which continues the use of demantoid garnets and intricate filigree.
A piece such as this pendant necklace is an extraordinary and rare find, a true testament to Louis Comfort Tiffany's desire to stimulate the ordinary palette and test the limit of conventional style.
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF MARGARET ALTSCHUL LANG