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Gautrait's Legacy: A Late Victorian Enamel Bracelet

A Victorian treasure circa 1890, this bracelet exudes the whimsical charm and refined elegance of the Aesthetic period. Believed to be of French origin, the piece is a graceful homage to the lighter, more romantic designs that marked the late Victorian era. Its 18K yellow gold setting, possibly touched by the legendary artistry of Lucien Gautrait, is detailed with the finest enamel work—a testament to the era's fascination with vibrant colour and elaborate ornamentation. The craftsmanship speaks to a time when jewellery was not just adornment but a narrative in miniature, echoing the opulence and creative zeal of the age.

Antique jewelry object group
bracelet

Condition
very good condition
more info on our condition scale

Country of origin
Although it does not carry any legible control marks we believe this to be of French origin.

Style
Victorian - Victorian decorative arts refers to the style of decorative arts during the Victorian era. The Victorian era is known for its eclectic revival and interpretation of historic styles and the introduction of cross-cultural influences from the middle east and Asia in furniture, fittings, and Interior decoration. Victorian design is widely viewed as having indulged in a regrettable excess of ornament. The Arts and Crafts movement, the aesthetic movement, Anglo-Japanese style, and Art Nouveau style have their beginnings in the late Victorian era.
See also: Victorian
more info on styles

Style specifics
The Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period - Experts divide the reign of Queen Victoria, also called The Victorian era (1837-1901) into three periods of about twenty years each; The Romantic Victorian Period (1837 - 1860), The Grand Victorian Period (1860 - 1880), and the Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period (1880 - 1901).

We consider this to be of The Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period.

Jewelry of this period is changing back from heavy to more smaller, romantic pieces with often whimsical motifs. Jewelers using diamonds and bright gemstones in elaborated and fine feminine pieces.

Period
ca. 1890
Events & facts of this era, poetry of this era, fashion of this era.

Material
18K yellow gold (touchstone tested)
more info on precious metals

Technique
Enamelling is an old and widely-adopted technology. The ancient Egyptians applied enamels to pottery and stone objects. The ancient Greeks, Celts, Russians, and Chinese also used enameling processes on metal objects. Enamel is the colorful result of fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 degrees Celsius. The powder melts and flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, glass or ceramic. According to some sources, the word enamel comes from the High German word smelzan (to smelt) via the Old French esmail. Used as a noun, "an enamel" is a usually small decorative object, coated with enamel coating, such as a champlevé or a cloisonné (different techniques).

Extra information
This bracelet is attributed to the legendary French designer Lucien Gautrait - similar bracelets by him are known. The clasp where the hallmarks should be seems to be repaired/replaced in its past.

More background information on Lucien (or Léopold) Gautrait
Parisian artist and jewelry designer Lucien or Léopold Gautrait (1865-1937), is known to have worked for the leading jewellery firms of Henri Vever, Boucheron and Léon Gariod in Paris. The known pieces by Gautrait are mainly pendants, brooches and bracelets and often take inspiration from Lalique techniques. However, his compositions have a distinctive ornamental character and show a preference for swung contours into which functional pieces, such as loops and fastenings, are fitted. Gautrait was highly skilled at creating bird pieces, specifically peacocks, with lush, densely colored and glittering plumage made with enamel. The effect of finely chased gold and enamels is most obvious, while precious stones provide discreet accents.

Work attributed to Gautrait is also notable for the finely sculpted female faces and exceptional luminous enamel work. Aside from the scattering of pieces that can be positively attributed to Gautrait, little else is known about the man or his work. Some of his pieces can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge), Bavarian National Museum (Munich), Schmuckmuseum (Pforzheim) and others.
Hallmarks
No trace.
more info on hallmarks

Dimensions
length 18,00 cm (7,09 inch), width 1,65 cm (0,65 inch)
see picture with a ruler in millimeters and inches

Weight
32,00 gram (20,58 dwt)

Adin Reference Nº
23086-0159

Copyright photography
Adin, fine antique jewellery

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Gautrait's Legacy: A Late Victorian Enamel Bracelet
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