01 Mar Divine Inspiration
Probably the most inspiring, gratifying aspect of what we do is sleuthing. We have had several requests recently from private clients for pieces by a certain designer, with only a description… No date, no title, no photos.
The Boivin bracelet shown here is an example of the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of finding just the right piece.
The House of Boivin was founded in the 1890s by Rene Boivin but really came into its own in the 1920s through 30s after his death. His wife(the sister of the Couturier Paul Poiret) took the bold step (especially during that male-dominated period) of taking over the Maison and running it with other women designers. She oversaw and they designed. Suzanne Belperron and later Juliette Moutard helped make Jeanne Boivin’s jewelry among the most sought-after among socialites and intellectuals for their innovations and distinct designs. These designs remain modern and distinctive today.
Madame Boivin had many years of experience working with her husband, a strong sense of style, and a cadre of excellent clients. Francoise Cailles (author of the definitive book on Boivin) writes of Madame Boivin: “She was not impressed by the ostentatious displays of gems that characterized the 1930s… a jewel was an object with its own identity, reflecting the personality of the wearer. She liked jewels to bring out the best in women, but she also liked women to bring out the best in jewels.”
With her lapidary Adrien Louart and her master jeweler Daviere, Madame Boivin produced sculptural and geometric pieces (mostly in yellow gold), using rock crystal, wood, and unusual colored gemstones. This bracelet was designed in 1929 in a style called ”Barbare”. The necklace version is pictured in the book on Boivin by Francoise Cailles on page 67. The bracelet we found for our client dates from 1950. It is rendered in eighteen-carat gold and called “Les Spirales”.
In the early 1930s, in a notable stylistic change from the geometrical Art Deco aesthetic, Boivin began to produce bold pieces with rounded silhouettes favoring spherical and elliptical forms. More naturalistic designs were also produced featuring animals, including sea creatures and delicately and realistically rendered floral designs. These included the famous Boivin Starfish brooches.
Sculptural, daring designs characterized most of the bracelets produced by the house of Boivin. The “escalier” and “bibendum” were among the most sought-after bracelet designs of theirs. The popular “melon slice” cuffs, so named for their curvature, are considered another of Jeanne Boivin’s iconic designs and were first produced in 1931. These bracelets were created in a wide variety ranging from simple cuffs of gold studded ivory to elaborate creations of carved stone set with diamonds and cabochon-cut gems.
With French hallmarks and makers marks for the House of Boivin, this bracelet is both highly collectible and wearable.
Et voila, Hercule Poirot!
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