Louis Comfort Tiffany-Cross Pendant
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), the son of founder Charles Tiffany, was a Renaissance man and a pioneer of American jewelry design. Known primarily for his "hand-wrought" style in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts movement, he continually challenged the American palette with themes of exoticism, naturalism and light.
Unlike his Edwardian counterparts, Louis Comfort was not preoccupied with the traditional choice of diamonds and pearls. Primary consideration was with how a gemstone, given its ability to diffuse and transform light, could convey the design and feeling he was trying to achieve. Dense lapis lazuli, opaque jade, multi-colored opals, translucent moonstones, even scarabs can be seen as continuations of his pioneering work in glass, lamps and windows. The theme of light and color, not unlike the Impressionist painters that influenced him, was a common thread in every aspect of his oeuvre.
An ardent champion of American gemstones, Louis Comfort 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.
He also held a particular fondness for the blue and green color combination. Here, small emeralds are purposefully placed and contrast the hue of the Montana sapphires. They draw the eye to the center of the cross and then visually terminate the ends of the arms. The metal of choice was most often gold but this piece represents a rare departure. Fine platinum filigree mounts secure the stones yet are barely visible to the viewer.
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY