Lot 95

A 18K gold brooch by Cartier from the 'Tabriz' collection, designed as a flower basket set composed of carved green chalcedony and carnelian leaves, sapphire cabochons, diamonds and onyx. Stamped with maker's marks, serial number '907393' and the year '1989'.

Gross weight: 15.19 grams


Blurring the boundary between fashion and function, the brooch is a valuable piece of jewellery that has evolved in purpose, form, and design since its introduction centuries ago.

The origins of the brooch can be traced back to the Bronze Age, when it was used to fasten or secure heavy articles of clothing, such as robes and cloaks, during harsh weather conditions. Early brooches were crafted from bronze and iron and bore minimal embellishment. This changed over time, particularly with the rise of the Byzantine Empire, when brooches became indicative of status, religious identity and, at times, personal taste, and displayed exceptional artisanship and elaborate patterns, which primarily included religious motifs and iconography.

The 19th century brought with it upgrades in jewellery-making techniques, thanks to the Industrial Revolution. This allowed jewellery makers to incorporate complicated designs and motifs into their brooches. "Lavish styles depicting flowers, insects, and leaves ascended to the height of fashion during the late 19th century. The aigrette style of brooch was favored by society for its timeless, feather-like shape, which flawlessly displayed flat-cut diamonds and garnets." (Sarah Dimarco, "The Brooch's Fanciful Return to Fashion Royalty," Veranda, 2021, online)

This period also marked improvements in trading routes, leading to cultural exchanges between South Asia and Europe, which in turn influenced jewellery-making in both regions. On the one hand, European jewellery makers gained access to a broader selection of gemstones that were sourced primarily from the Indian subcontinent. On the other hand, Indian aristocrats and merchants travelled to Europe and gained exposure to the latest European jewellery-making techniques and practices.

Additionally, the European presence in India also made an impression on jewellery-making and accessorising trends in the country. Although Mughal rulers were noted for accessorising sherwanis, robes and jackets with ornamental pins, it was only during the colonial period that European-styled, enamelled brooches were officially introduced in India. Maharajas adapted brooches to suit regional outfits and used them to ornament turbans, belts, and headgears. Brooches were also used by the British throne as medals, honours or symbols of stature awarded to rulers and associates in India.

Brooch designs were also influenced by the burgeoning Art Deco movement after the Great War, marking the rise of designs that were more geometric and streamlined in nature. In fact, a notable characteristic of brooches from the Art Deco period is the inclusion of pearls. "Pearls were utilized in Art Deco jewelry as a contrast to the emeralds, rubies, and sapphires that were commonly used together. The pearls added a textural richness and softness to the stiff geometric shapes." (Dona M Dirlam, Elise B Misorowski, and Sally A Thomas, "Pearl Fashion Through the Ages," Gems & Gemology, Los Angeles: Gemological Institute of America, 1985, p.77)

The popularity of Art Deco brooches propelled into fashion in pre-independent India as well. In the 1930s and '40s, women restyled the traditional ornament into a modern accessory which was used primarily to fasten and accessorise saris, and men used them to adorn ties and blazers. Pearl brooches were particularly popular for their distinctive allure and rarity.

Although brooch designs did not undergo major transformations in the latter half of the 20th century, mild modifications were brought to the production of the accessory due to advancements in engineering, fashion, and gemmology. Contemporary brooches continue to experiment with designs, style, and materials. Recent models of the accessory are crafted from lighter materials such as wood and titanium, which are more compatible with the softer textiles used today. Brooches thus continue to remain a bold emblem of discerning taste that can add glamour and charm to any outfit.

Other similar works in: this auction  |  entire site

  Lot 95 of 109  

27-28 OCTOBER 2021

$5,410 - 8,110
Rs 4,00,000 - 6,00,000



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