Boucher's bumblebees. Aflutter on gold over sterling foliage banded with sapphire blue square cut rhinestones, five bees busy themselves with tasks at hand. There's a trio on the brooch, each with a faux button pearl body, sterling silver wings, black enamel neck bands, purplish enamel eyes and clear rhinestone pave set heads protruding with silver antennae. Clip earrings each sport single bees with similar characteristics abuzz on sterling vermeil foliage banded with blue square or princess cut rhinestones.
We have not seen another example of this early 1950s set. Marcel Boucher's tenure at Cartier in Paris can clearly be seen in his masterful attention to each and every detail. From the delicate silver filigree wings and enamel highlights to the rhinestone accented heads and foliage, Boucher bees are a testament to his talents.
The brooch measures approximately 2 1/8 inches across with a 3/8 inch profile or height. Earrings are about 1 3/8 inches x 3/4 inch. Each bee is approximately 11/16 inch x 9/16 inch. Bees' simulated pearl bodies are about 10 millimeters. Weight of the brooch and earrings set is 34 grams.
Condition is excellent vintage. All components intact. All imitation button pearls retain nacre and luster. All rhinestones intact and original. Some of the clear rhinestones have dimmed in the bees in the earrings. Brooch retains uniformly clear and brilliant rhinestones. Black enamel neck banding intact with some slight wear. Some purplish (almost iridescent) enamel is worn from some of the bees' eyes. All channel set, blue square cut rhinestones retain color and sparkle. No dents or improper bends to sterling. Front vermeil finish intact with appropriate patina. No polishing done. There is some wear to the vermeil finish on reverse of brooch and earrings shown in photos. Original pin mechanism and earring clips strong and secure. Clean. No damage / no repairs. Excellent vintage.
The brooch is signed on reverse: "BOUCHER" with the design catalog or inventory number of "5179" and although difficult to read: "STERLING". One of the earring reverses is signed: "STERLING" and "5179". The mate's reverse appears to possibly be marked with the older MB Phrygian cap although the symbol is very muddy and hard to discern. The sets' numbering dates it to circa 1952-1954.
To bee...or to bee? Boucher answers the question. At Cody's.
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