The opulent imagery and mythology of Ancient Egyptian art and artifacts has fascinated Westerners since the earliest archaeological excavations of the pharaoh's tombs. This necklace was fashioned during the twentieth century period known as Egyptian Revival, a period in design marked by it's heavy borrowing from the symbolic vocabulary of the Ancient Egyptians.
The pendant features the head of a pharaoh, finely carved in carnelian, crowned in an ornate headdress decorated in enamel and rose cut diamond chips. The exquisitely rendered king sits atop a multi-hued oval agate cabochon. A round faceted amethyst and seed pearl decorate the bale.
ART DECO (1915 – 1940)
Art Deco is highly recognizable for its minimalism and futurism. Simultaneous art movements—Cubism, Bauhaus—informed the geometric style, along with “exotic” foreign influences like the Ballet Russe. Motifs like ziggurats and sunbursts, stripped of visual clutter, conveyed the optimism of an increasingly technological world.
In jewelry, the predominant use of white metals let colorful gems take center stage. Stones that were opaque and true in color, like lapis lazuli, onyx, jade, coral, and opal were worked into designs alongside more precious and brilliant gems, like diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Extra-long beaded necklaces and tasseled “sautoirs” followed the narrow flapper silhouette.
The baguette cut was an Art Deco innovation, and the decade saw increased use of other angular diamond cuts, like the precise caliber cut and the emerald cut. Synthetic gems, like sapphires, were celebrated as a scientific marvel. Marcel Tolkowsky, 21 years old at the time, published the design for the round brilliant cut in 1919.