An important 18K yellow gold and natural semi-baroque pearl necklace in the "Lierre" ("Ivy") design by Edouard Aimé Arnould. The necklace features five foliate plaques set with pearls flanked on either side with a long- and short-link chain. The sculptural quality of the leaves is enhanced with areas of bright polish contrasting with areas in a slightly matte finish, a technique repeated on the back sides, as well. The natural pearls have excellent luster with faintly lavender/rose overtones. In Victorian symbolism, ivy represented the bonds of love in marriage. One can imagine a bride, even today, wearing such a necklace with her gown! Each section of the necklace is stamped with French 18K marks, and the central plaque is signed "Arnould".
Arnould was among the most important of the French Art Nouveau jewelers and is well listed in most of the scholarly references of the period. He opened his studio at 7, rue Racine, Paris in 1890. In 1911, a French design journal credited him with "jewels of the best taste." Around 1900, Maison Arnould published a catalog. The final photograph in this listing shows the necklace as it was listed in the catalog. It's interesting to note that the necklace was available with or without the natural pearls, and that the price nearly doubled for the pearl version. Other pages of the catalog show the "Lierre" design used for pendants, bracelet charms, hair barrettes, brooches, rings, bracelets and cufflinks.
Origin: France, ca. 1900. Condition: excellent. Dimensions: overall length, 16-1/2"; length of floral plaques together, 6-1/2"; center plaque, 2" x 1-3/4". Weight: 31.2 grams.