ART DECO AQUAMARINE, DIAMOND, AND ENAMEL BRACELET BY JEAN FOUQUET FOR MAISON GEORGES FOUQUET, PARIS, 1926
A bangle bracelet of geometric design alternating semi-circular plaques applied with black enamel, each set with a large step-cut aquamarine, accented by pavé-set diamond panels; mounted in platinum and 18-karat white gold, French assay marks; with the original fitted case
- 4 step-cut aquamarines, total weighing approximately 100 carats
- 232 old European-cut and single-cut diamonds, total weighing approximately 12 carats
- Signed Jean Fouquet, with maker’s marks for Georges Fouquet, fitted case signed G Fouquet 6, rue Royale Paris
- Accompanied by original drawing stamped Jean Fouquet, Paris, and dated 1926
- Measurements: 2 1/2 × 2 1/2 inches
- Benton, Charlotte, et. al. Art Deco: 1910–1939. New York: Bulfinch Press, 2003, p. 280.
Maison Fouquet was founded in Paris in 1862 by Alphonse Fouquet, who exhibited jewelry inspired by sphinxes and chimeras at the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris. In 1895, he was succeeded by his son, Georges, a designer and shrewd businessman respected among his peers and a commander of the Légion d’Honneur. At the turn of the century, graphic designer Alphonse Mucha created imaginative jewels for the company. Jean Fouquet joined the family rm in 1920, designing avant-garde jewelry based on rectilinear precepts. After the rm closed in February 1936, he worked on commissions for private clients.
During the Art Deco period of the early 1910s to late 1930s emerged a movement that stripped away unnecessary decoration, implemented simple forms, and found inspiration in the modern machine. is new avant-garde movement attracted a select group of artists known as the bijoutiers-artistes, or artist-jewelers, who focused on a modern aesthetic rather than material value. A group of artists, including artist-jewelers Raymond Templier, Jean Dunand, Jean Després, Gerard Sandoz, and Georges and Jean Fouquet formed the Union des Artistes Modernes as a reaction to the prevailing artistic movements of the times. A chief proponent of this movement, Jean Fouquet was a purist who believed in excellent workmanship and having his designs consistently reecting his aesthetic.
This bracelet is a perfect blend of Fouquet’s modern taste with the pristine excellence of ne jewelry. Fouquet, who preferred using semi-precious stones, cleverly combined unusual materials together with the use of large step-cut aquamarines within a ground of geometric enamel sections, then accented by bands of pavé-set diamonds that appear to be woven into the enamel pieces. e large surfaces of black enamel bring uidity to the bracelet connecting the various gemstones and geometric shapes in this superbly designed bold jewel.
Jean Fouquet’s audacious and innovative designs for his father were created only for a short time from 1925 to 1931. is bracelet, designed in 1926 just after the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, is a seminal work of Art Deco design, complete with the original drawing and the original case. Fouquet was inspired by the form of the cu bracelet and its ability to be seen from afar, he once said, “A piece of jewelry must be composed of masses clearly visible from a distance.” He explained, “Objects glimpsed at top speed become distorted and we can only perceive them by their volume . . . Today we have become accustomed to reading quickly.” is bracelet leaves a striking impression upon the viewer and is an exceptional example of abstract sculpture. e piece is made even more incredible when worn on the wrist. is magnicent bracelet embodies the avant-garde spirit of Art Deco design.