I walk into the dark room at the musée Les Artes Décoratifs, located next to the Louvre, downtown Paris. Lining the walls are thousands of tiny brooches, hair combs, necklaces, hat pins and multitudes more or glimmery, shimmery hand crafted art works. Ranging from 18-20th Century works, I was stunned at the absolte intricacy with which all of these little objects were made.
Pendants and lockets, worn by both woman and men. Elaborate designs with semi precious stones, pearls and inlay of hand carved shell and ivory.
Art nouveau jewelry
The prevalence of art nouveau's influence over design in the 18th-early 19th Century was evidents in the exhibit. Hundreds if not thousands of intricate art pieces, most not measuring over a couple inches in diameter. Their jewels glowing under the light, each ornate design telling a story.
Pendants, brooches, pins, hair combs and buttons the lavish designs symbolized a period when art was a way for the wearer to present their wealth literally on their sleeve. Many of the pieces were worth far more than the garment is was worn on.
Fairies and fantasy were a favorite subject matter for the designers and the women that wore them. No amount of embellishment was too much.