An exquisitely hand made late Art Deco (c.1940) objet d'art in silver, finished in 18K gold (in colour somewhere between yellow and rose golds) and studded with rubies.
The hand-chased bird (a bird of paradise or even a phoenix?) has been executed in freehand with incredible confidence and skill, and the design is superb. This would very likely have been a one-off commissioned piece and as such there are very few pieces with which it can be compared.
Externally, the quality is as good as you could expect to see, with an almost invisible castellated hinge (the sign of an expert metalsmith), the most sumptuous gold pusher set with five faceted rectangle-cut rubies, 12 cabochon rubies decorating the branch on which the bird sits and a lovely, ridged, typically Art Deco underside. The whole thing feels clean and cold, heavy and substantial and sits so nicely in the hand.
The internal parts of the compact, which would have been signed, have been removed, perhaps to convert it into a card or cigarette case. As a result it is possible to see the steel mechanism (this separate piece of metal behind the pusher is a little rusted) but also the French assay marks which, as with many French hallmarks, are extremely hard to read but appear to be the French boar mark (Paris Assay Office, at least 800 fineness) on the inner top side, with another oval-shaped mark which is illegible on the bottom. The top is also stamped 32 on the inside, and the bottom is stamped F32 inside.
So who made this fine box? Given the quality of design, the French assay marks, the gorgeous hand chasing and the beautiful pavé set ruby pusher, we believe that Boucheron is the only real candidate. Unfortunately we'll never know for sure as the signed parts have been removed and Boucheron tell us they have not kept records of every piece commissioned; if you know Boucheron, I hope you'll agree this looks very much like their work.
Width 7.5cm x length 8cm x depth 1cm. Weight 125g.
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