COLLIER WITH PEACOCK MOTIF SET WITH DIAMONDS, SAPPHIRES AND VITREOUS ENAMEL
Paris, L. GAUTRAIT, circa 1900
18K Gold, tested. Signed L. Gautrait (stamped). 26 small rose-cut diamonds. 10 facetted, heart-shaped, cornflower-blue sapphires. 2 stones have been replaced. 1 white cultured pearl, 8 x 5.5 mm; vitreous enamel in varying tones of blue, opaque enamel in white, green and blue. The enamel is slightly chipped.
Collier: Length circa 52 cm, pendant: circa 8.5 x 4.8 cm. Circa 26.11 g.
The peacock is shown from the rear with its head turned to one side. The head is encircled by a small diamond set wheel, from which the enameled head plumage protrudes. The tail plumage is spread braodly and the feathers are highlighted with the use of vitreous enamel. The eyes of the tail feathers are set with faceted sapphires. An oval cultured pearl hangs down from the central feather. Two small chains lead to a triangular connector, which is also decorated with vitreous enamel and set with a central sapphire. The necklace chain is also attached via the connector. The pendant was originally also wearable as a brooch. A nearly identical brooch was shown at an exhibition Parisian Jewellery at the Bavarian National Museum between 1st December 1989 and 4th March 1990.
Little is known about the life and artistic background of L. Gautrait, who worked Vever Jewellers and as a designer for the Parisian jeweller Léon Gariod. The image of a peacock displaying its tail feathers, a common motif in the oevre of Gautrait, particularly suits his preference for the use expressive contours in his pieces. This motif also enabled Gautrait to illustrate his exceptional skill when working with the material of enamel, about which he was particulary passionate.
Literature: Parisian Jewellery from the Second Empire to the Belle Epoque, ed. Bavarian National Museum, Hirmer Verlag, Munich, 1989, p. 286, Fig. 219.