Magnificent Jewels

Magnificent Jewels

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 44. Tourmaline and Emerald 'Digitale' Brooch, France.

Property of A Lady

René Boivin

Tourmaline and Emerald 'Digitale' Brooch, France

Auction Closed

June 7, 04:43 PM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 USD

Lot Details


Designed as a foxglove stem, the articulated petals set with pear-, oval-shaped and round pink tourmalines and amethysts, with round emerald leaves, unsigned, inscribed 'Ma solitude commence à deux pas de toi', with French assay marks; 1949.

Accompanied by René Boivin Certificate of Authenticity no. 202405PMM dated May 17, 2024 stating that the brooch was created in December 1949 after a drawing by Juliette Moutard.

For a similar 'Digitale' brooch, see René Boivin Jeweller, by Françoise Cailles, page 227.

On the reverse of the brooch offered here, Lot 44, is a quote from Jean Girandoux’s play ‘Ondine’: ma solitude commence a deux pas de toi. Inspired by Girandoux’s adaptation of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqués popular early 19th Century novella, ‘Undine’, we are introduced to a water nymph, raised by mortal parents, who falls deeply in love with a knight, Hans. The king of the water nymphs, known as the ‘Old One’, warns her that Hans will betray her however she ignores him and insists on marrying him anyway. The King then curses the knight, decreeing that he must die when he betrays Ondine. True to this prediction, Hans does betray Ondine. In a desperate attempt to spare him from the curse, Ondine falsely admits to infidelity, leading to her condemnation. Yet, the King, moved by compassion, alters the curse, stating that the Knight will only die when Ondine forgets him entirely. Through a pact with her nymph sisters, Ondine faces the heart-wrenching moment when her name is called out three times, signaling her forgetfulness and Hans’ impending death. Their final embrace brims with melancholic tenderness as the prince mourns their eternal separation. Upon the third call of Ondine’s name, he meets his fate, leaving behind a surreal tale of love between two worlds, which symbolically reflects the cruelty and narrow-minded nature of mankind.


This brooch was gifted to a previous owner’s grandmother by the Surrealist poet Pierre Reverdy, with whom she was very close. The poet had retired to Solesmes to live in a religious retreat away from his previous life at the heart of the Surrealist artistic circles in Paris. We can only speculate as to the significance behind the romantic passage inscribed on the brooch which, while tender, alludes to a doomed love affair across two different worlds.