A reaction to the constrained and classic designs of the 19th century, the spirit of Art Nouveau was meant to evoke nature rather than copying it, but with a dimension of sensuality never seen before. This new art, literally, founds its roots in the naturalism of Japanese art of the previous centuries that made its way to Europe in the mid-1800s, that became the basis of inspiration for such celebrated artists Monet, Lalique and Mucha. Themes in were based on the exotic in nature. Gone were the romantic French pansy and the dainty symmetry of late 19th century jewelry, replaced with exotic plants, flowers, animals and depictions of women, who were beginning to find a new liberation and independence in turn of the century Europe.
Artists were inspired by elements of nature considered exotic at the time like Ginkgo leaves, orchids, chrysanthemums, poppies, and sunflowers. In this case, bright yellow gold sunflowers enameled blue and green frame a large, claw-set baroque pearl. The shoulders are accentuated by seaweed leaves. The undulating form is emblematic of the central theme of Art Nouveau: the stems coming together, intertwining and drifting apart in sensual movement are representative of the kinesis of nature and life itself. Captured here permanently in precious metal, the sunflowers seem to say "rejoice in today, for tomorrow it will all be a memory".
This ring dates from 1895 to 1910 and originates from continental Europe.
Condition: very good, noting some very minute losses to the enamel, most notably at the shoulders, and small wear to the base of the ring shank.
Size: 8 ¼ US, Q ½ UK and can be sized.
Scale: large, the central decoration measuring 3cm (nearly 1.5") long; the pearl measuring 12.5mm x 10.5mm, approximately.
Marks: an owl for non-French gold articles sold at public auction in France Gold content: 16k yellow gold, tested with a Tri-Electronics GT-3000
Weight: 10.7 grams