A RARE SET OF MECHANICAL RUBY AND DIAMOND JEWELRY
A bracelet, the front of pavé and baguette-cut diamond scroll design, enhanced by a calibré-cut ruby and pavé-set diamond cylinder, attached to a circular-cut diamond two-row band, mounted in platinum; and a pair of clips en suite, each ruby cylinder rotates, the reverse of pavé-set diamonds (one baguette-cut diamond missing), circa 1935
Total estimated weight of diamonds and rubies approximately 94.00 and 25.00 cts.
By the end of the 1920s, the flat, rectilinear style of the Art Deco period had evolved into rounded, three dimensional shapes derived from machines. It seems fitting that the artist, Fernand Léger, who had exhibited a cubistic-style painting over a Raymond Templier showcase with Art Deco-style jewelry (for illustration see Sylvie Raulet, Art Deco Jewelry, New York, 1985, p. 278), also designed the catalogue cover of a special exhibition, held in New York City in 1927, entitled the Machine-Age Exposition, which included actual machines and photographs and drawings of machines. The image on the cover was an abstraction of compass-drawn circles and interlocking geometric elements (For illustration, see The Machine Age in America 1918-1941, New York, 1986, page 233). The purpose of this exhibition was to draw both the artist and the engineer together so that they could learn from one another. The motor car, airplane and tractor became the new design source. This impetus served as inspiration for all facets of the decorative arts, including jewelry. Jewelry became larger and bolder with design components based on such machine parts as gears, ball bearings and cylinders.
The illustrated bracelet and pair of clips reflects the machine age aesthetics with its use of a gem-set cylinder that rotates like a machine, displaying either rubies or diamonds. Precious gemstones disguise the actual inspiration...the machine. (2)