Alice Karle Appraisal

Fine & Decorative Art

Art Deco Gold Compact

Art Deco Compact
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Art Deco Gold Compact

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Art Deco compact of geometric design. The compact is decorated with enamel, eggshell, and gilt silver on its surface. Inside the compact is lined with 18k gold with French assay marks. There is a mirror, two lidded inner compartments and a black onyx clasp. This Art Deco compact does not bear a maker’s mark but is in the manner of Gérard Sandoz, whose work features starkly geometric designs.

The design of the compact belongs to the school of the artist‑jeweler or bijoutiers‑artistes. Prominent jewelers of this school were Jean Fouquet, Paul Brandt, Gérard Sandoz and Raymond Templier. Bold colors and strongly stated design motifs take precedence over the use of precious materials. Advances in technology allowed for the use of platinum, in addition to traditional gold. Overall geometric designs in black onyx became popular, as in the butterfly brooches of Cartier and others. Brilliantly colored semi-precious stones were also used to dramatic effect, such as orange colored spessarite garnet, and green demantoid garnet.

Global trade is not a new phenomenon. From the 16th century onward large emeralds were mined in Columbia in South America, and imported to India. They were carved in India and used in jewelry. In the latter period of British rule in India (known as the Raj Period) many of these large carved emeralds became available on the market, and became sought after by the French Art Deco jewelers. Although often simply cut, and with noticeable inclusions, they became a favorite of the Art Deco jewelers who incorporated them into their jewelry.

The materials used in the compact are gilt silver, blue enamel, eggshell, black onyx, with an 18 karat gold interior liner.

Although a little the worse for wear, with some chipping to the enamel and tarnishing of the gilt silver, this little compact sold for $2,000 at auction.