The Ada Brooch in Plique a Jour
Last year, I was invited to view this Magnificent Jewel with a couple of friends and jewellers, Tom Herman and Leila Tai. The Newark Museum had recently purchased Ada Rehan’s, Morning Glory, Plique a Jour Brooch. Ulysses Dietz, the Chief Curator of the museum was kind enough to have us visit and view the brooch first hand.
I travelled to NY’s Forbes Gallery before to see the brooch. At that time is was hanging on a display.
To everyone surprise when we picked it up, and it moved like a young kitten, limp in your hand. 4-5 joints were counted in the 5 inch jewel. As a brooch or a pendant it would lay with the movement of the body or clothing in any position. The 3D flowers and buds allow the light to shine through to enhance the color of enamels in this plique a jour beauty. Quite amazing, the structure showing no signs of stress.
The joints were assembled with copper pegs. Tom believes this makes it easier to form as a cold connection and not damage the surrounding enamels.
First you can see the small the hinge with the large flower bloom combination. Thus allowing the bloom to move easily.
Second above is a small screw showing, besides below, the last two buds have a joint thus keeping them in a dangling motion.
Third the blooms would have been enameled separately and placed into the sepal acting as a bolt to hold the bloom in place by the stamen as seen here. And it is visible the enamel on front of the blooms have been stoned and the back was left glossy from the last firing.
Lastly, the colors of enamel flow softly and gently along the chased gold stems. While filling large open cells on reoccurring surface curves the artist accomplished beautiful gradation of color. The result is outstanding!
The metal of the leaves measured 1.5mm and the average thickness of the flowers were .83mm. The stem was 2mm and the enamel average was .35mm. Not much space for enamels to get the color changes you see here! An amazing job!
The Clasp another inspiration.
The curves of the pin back follow the stem structure of the jewel. It attaches to the stem with this nut and bolt finding you see above. On the opposite end is the hinge, fitting in the loop before the nut and bolt is attached to the stem. Pictured below.
Now you see the top of the screw that is the clasp for the pin tip.
And to conclude the jump rings on each the stem are perfectly placed for the chased and enameled necklace to attach.
A must see “The Ada Pilque a Jour Brooch” at the Newark Museum!
The Newark Museum 49Washington St. Newark, NJ 07102