We are excited to bring to auction this diamond and enamel pansy brooch pin by Boucheron. This simple, pretty pin has a story to tell about its famous jewellery pedigree, symbolism and artisanal technique.
Founded in 1858, the house of Boucheron is renowned for haute joaillerie. Their expert craftsmen used innovative techniques to sculpt gold and employed the latest technical advances in jewellery making. Frédéric Boucheron first gained notoriety when he received a gold medal at his first exhibition in the World’s Fair in 1867. Boucheron was one of the first French high-end jewellers to position his headquarters at 26 Place Vendome in Paris, a now famous location for the world’s most prestigious jewellery houses including Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet and Cartier. From 1860, the Russian Imperial family became important clients of Boucheron, and a new boutique was opened in Moscow in 1897 to service the royalty and Russian elite. In 1911 the boutique was moved to St Petersburg and it reopened in Moscow in 2003. Boucheron’s past and present clients include Russian, English and Indian royalty, as well as affluent American families including the Astors, the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers and the Kennedys. Boucheron has also long been favoured by iconic film stars such as Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich and more recently Eva Longoria, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz.
Boucheron created many pieces inspired by nature. From around 1830, the flower motif was used extensively in jewellery to convey love and friendship. Flowers have an enduring appeal and have been a constant source of inspiration for many notable jewellery designers. Flower jewels usually hold a symbolic, sometimes talismanic meaning and often, a secret message for the recipient. Pansies symbolise remembrance, given that the word pansy comes from the French word penser, which means “to think”, so it means “thinking of you” in the context of friendship and love.
This pansy brooch showcases Boucheron’s fine enamelling skills – a difficult and time consuming process to perfect. The enamel shows vibrant purple tonal colours and intricate veining detail on the petals. The flower reflects a soft, almost velvet light, emulating the delicate texture of a pansy’s petals. This creates the perfect foil for a small, glittering diamond, centrally set to the bloom. The stem of the pansy is hallmarked with the signature Boucheron “B”, and the original box is stamped with Boucheron’s Paris and Moscow addresses, dating this brooch between 1897 and 1911 – the Belle Epoqué period.
We look forward to offering this special pin in our Fine Jewels Auction on 1 June 2020.
CATHERINE BARNETT / Jewellery Specialist, Sydney