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Enamel, natural pearl and gold pendent necklace, 'Iris', René Lalique, circa 1900, and a chainEstimate 98,000 — 148,000 CHF. Photo Sotheby's

The pendant designed as two gold iris, the stems of scroll design decorated with plique-à-jour green enamel, suspending a collet-set baroque drop shaped freshwater natural pearl, on an enamelled gold chain necklet,length approximately 560mm, signed Lalique, French assay and maker's marks, fitted case stamped Lalique.

ProvenancePurchased in 1976 by the present owner from a member of the Lalique family.

NotesThe three Lalique jewels offered here are exemplary of the jeweller’s oeuvre. The iris pendant is a shining example of Lalique’s fascination with nature and the larger japonisme movement that had enraptured Europe. With detailed gold and enamelwork, Lalique created a jewel that evokes nature’s beauty as well as Japan’s past.

The sautoir highlights his mastery of gold, with a keen eye on form. The links interweave intricately, resulting in a piece that is at once solid and ephemeral, geometric and organic.

Lastly, the rock crystal pendant necklace, highlighted by two caryatid figures in diaphanous robes, shows Lalique’s mastery of the human form. Exquisitely carved, the figures display a timeless beauty reminiscent of Classical architecture.

The canon of Lalique remains one of the most innovative and inspired of any jeweller’s. Drawing on popular tropes, nature and art, he created works that, though evocative of previous jewels, dramatically changed the landscape of jewellery at the beginning of the 20th century and serves today as the defining work of the Art Nouveau.  

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Genève, 11 nov. 2015, 10:00 AM