Riker Bros. Renaissance Revival Brooch
Over the course of jewelry history certain images have appealed to both the designer and the consumer. At times these forms have been usurped from architecture or from heraldic charges. Revival jewelry neo-Renaissance and Gothic revival has been quite keen on re-employing motifs. One particularly popular icon was the griffin - a mythological beast that typically had the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. Inherited from the Gothic style of using gargoyles, the gryphon (griffon) became the stylistic image of the time and myriad variations appeared in jewelry.
Known for its griffon and dragon motif brooches, Riker Brothers jewelry offered these popular adornments in a variety of sizes. Their detailing, texturing and modeling was on the finest par with Tiffany and Neiman Marcus. Crafted from 14k yellow gold, the creature is grasping a small cultured pearl within its powerful jaws. In addition to being traditionally displayed with projecting ears representing its acute hearing, the powerful beast uses a minute garnet cabochon to enhance sight. Wings of an eagle are set with a small single cut diamond propel flawless flight as the lion’s tail segues into a stylized flower form to ensure stability.
Date: Circa 1910.
Noteworthy: Combine the aesthetics of such a creature with the sensibilities of an American icon of the venerated cabal of American jewelry manufacturers of Newark, New Jersey, the Riker Brothers. One of the core fabricators of the American Art Nouveau and Beaux Arts style, it was this company which greatly added to developing this city into the jewelry manufacturing capital of America. Point of interest: in 1801, this small collection of manufacturing firms launched the well known slogan, “made-in-America”.
Measurements: 1-1/4 inches (3.2 cm) in total length by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Weight of 5.5 grams (3.6 dwt).
Hallmarks: 14k; Riker mark.
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