MOONSTONE, SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND PENDANT-NECKLACE, TIFFANY & CO., DESIGNED BY LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY
25,000 - 35,000 USD
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The pendant centered on an oval-shaped cabochon moonstone measuring approximately 42.0 x 24.0 mm within a frame of round sapphires, accented by old European-cut diamonds, suspended from an ornate chain set with clusters of round sapphires alternating with cabochon moonstones, length 23 inches, signed Tiffany & Co.; circa 1920.
A similar example of this design is illustrated in Bejewelled by Tiffany 1837-1987 by Clare Phillips, page 246.
Moonstones and sapphires were a favored combination used by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Although he was not trained as a gemologist, the high quality stones he selected to achieve his desired effects would likely have been supplied by Tiffany’s chief gem specialist, George Frederick Kunz. Translucent moonstones highlighted by their unmistakable billowy blue adularescence are perfectly complemented by the twilight blue of the sapphires. Tiffany was a master in the use of color, and although he thought little of diamonds, he approved the restrained use of them as can be noted in the exquisite necklace offered here. Drawing from his studies as a painter, he has captured the essence of the soft glowing moonlight in an early evening sky as twinkling stars begin to appear. The Tiffany Blue Book first advertised articles of platinum jewelry in 1912. Some of the earliest designs pairing moonstones with sapphires can be dated to this period when Tiffany’s workshop was headed by Julia Munson, often incorporating platinum filigree work. From 1914-1933, when Meta Overbeck managed the department, many variations of moonstone and sapphire jewels appear, but as we see in the bracelet from the same collection (lot 50), there emerges a more geometric pattern linking the gemstones, in contrast to the organic flow of platinum curlicues as in the necklace. While made from the same materials and clearly acquired to be worn together, the two pieces reveal a subtle shift in the visual vocabulary employed by the workshop, from the curvilinear to the symmetrical—or, framed another way, from Arts & Crafts to Art Deco—over the course of a few years. Both examples exhibit one of the key hallmarks of a Tiffany designed jewel; their beauty is evident not only on the front but may also be seen in the details of the fine finish on the back. Through a combination of distinct materials, design and craftsmanship, these pieces are instantly recognizable as the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, a true artist-jeweler.