Jeweled creatures

“Fauna: The Art of Jewelry,” the second in a series of compact jewelry books from Thames & Hudson, puts the spotlight on jewelry, historic and contemporary, inspired by animals.

A brilliantly hued peacock takes center stage on an enameled brooch created by the iconic designer René Lalique in Paris, circa 1899.

Complete with a removable fitting that allows it to be displayed as an objet d’art, the creation is so exquisite it graces the cover of “Fauna: The Art of Jewelry.”

Clockwise from top: Top, Dog tie pin. France, early 19th century (?). Gilded silver, gold, old-style brilliant-cut diamonds. H. 4 cm; W. 2.5 cm. Gift of M. Merlin, 1892. Inv. 7088; Louis Aucoc (1850-1932), jeweler. Poodle tie pin. Gold, opal, matrix opal. L. 9.5 cm; head H. 1.5 cm;
W. 1.5 cm. Gift of Count Moïse de Camondo in memory of his father Count Nissim de Camondo, 1933. Inv. 28874 D; Dog’s Head tie pin. England, late 19th century. Painting under glass, gold, silver, rose-cut diamonds. L. 9 cm; W. 1.6 cm. Bequest of Jean-Jacques Reubell, 1934. Inv. 30736 D; and Frédéric Boucheron (1830-1902), Jean Menu (born 1830) and Burdy (born 1833), jewelers. Dog’s Head tie pin. Gold, sard, L. 10.5 cm; head H. 1.9 cm; W. 2 cm. Gift of Count Moïse de Camondo in memory of his father Count Nissim de Camondo, 1933. Inv. 28874 B. Image © Thames & Hudson LTD, London. Photograph by Jean-Marie del Moral.

The compact volume (128 pages, $24.95) continues the series inaugurated by Thames & Hudson with “Flora: The Art of Jewelry,” featured in our May 2017 issue.

While that first entry was a love letter to floral-themed jewelry, celebrating keepsake works forever in bloom, this newer title takes a playful romp through the animal kingdom.

And it’s a bold journey filled with grasshoppers and butterflies, cranes and turtles, bumble bees, dogs, cats, lions, rabbits, fish, snakes … most all the proverbial creatures great and small.

In a fast-paced survey touching on animals most readily encountered, such as sleeping dogs, playful cats and charming bunnies, to the more exotic, including camels, leopards and bats, there’s even a scenic side trip to the mythical — think griffin, sphinx and dragon, for example.

In total, some 130 creations are explored, as selected from the renowned jewelry collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. There are necklaces and rings, bracelets, brooches and earrings created by legendary designers ranging from Lalique to Frédéric Boucheron, Alphonse Fouquet to Jean Schlumberger and many more.

There are finds from Italian antiquity to the Renaissance Revival of the 19th century, pieces following the fanciful lines of the Art Nouveau period through more Modernist work.

In addition to detailing the materials that form these dazzling works — brought to life in vivid photographs by Jean-Marie del Moral — authors and jewelry experts Patrick Mauriès, a writer and publisher specializing in fashion and design, and Évelyne Possémé, chief curator at the Parisian institution, have teamed up again to explore the featured work by touching on everything from symbolism to trends.Jeweled creatures

As Possémé shares in an essay at the start of the book, “The human race has always been part of the animal kingdom, and, from the very start, our lives have depended on our relationships with other animals.”

Sometimes, though, it’s just about the look — when you simply want to adorn yourself with a graceful butterfly that seems to have a life of its own.

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