Based on a design rendered by Lluis Masriera, the Spanish master of Art Nouveau jewelry (see photos), this 14k yellow gold pendant is a piece of objective beauty well worth owning. Art Nouveau was obsessed with depicting fantastic creatures, insects and animals both real and imagined. Stylized or realistic these themes readily were incorporated into the idea of inducing a dream state in the viewers to entice them to release their imaginations in turn.
The dragon motif was especially useful as it conveyed an image which was conveniently ambivalent – being a traditional element of heraldry as well as an archetypal symbol. Although Art Nouveau typically utilized a flat two-dimensional plane, the overall gestalt illustrated in this pendant is alive and restless yet displays a strong balance with its whiplash form created using dynamic, undulating and flowing lines in a syncopated rhythm of a three-dimensional object.
Solid and weighty (not hollow), 14k gold renders exceptionally fine detailing and modeling of the creature as it grasps an old European cut diamond within its powerful jaws and focuses on its environs using a single cut diamond eye. In all, .22 carats of estimated total diamond weight appoint the pendant. The reverse is just as well executed and aesthetically pleasing as is the front. The design is well thought out and proportioned even to the point of including the two sinuous curving elements flanking the bale. In addition, texturing of surfaces has not been ignored.
Date: Circa 1910.
Note: See photo from a catalog of Marta Alcolea, an antique jewelry dealer located in Spain depicting the original Masriera dragon pendant on which this was based.
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