Description & Technical information

The gold longchain with figure-of-eight foliate scroll links enamelled in two-tone green and blue or green and ochre yellow, each link spaced by a circular facetted coloured gem, inluding sapphires, coloured sapphires and old-cut yellow, brown and pink diamonds, centred by an enamelled fruit basket motif, suspending the openwork foliate scroll panel pendant, of spearhead outline and similarly enamelled, set to the middle with four emeralds, further set with coloured diamonds and gems in various shades of yellow and orangey-brown, blue sapphire and coloured pearl accents.

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was the son of Charles Tiffany, founder of Tiffany and Co. His training in design began at an early age and at seventeen, he left home to travel Europe, North Africa and the Near East. His experiences had a particular impact on his life work as it was during this time that he became consumed with colour, light and varying hues that were rarely seen in the mainstream American artists palette. 

A Renaissance man, Louis Comfort, operated under Tiffany Furnaces, separate from the auspices of Tiffany and Co. and his father. It was here that he produced his richly coloured lamps and vibrantly toned favrile glass, tapestries, enamels, metalwork, furniture and hundreds of other items that would grace the homes of some of the most important Americans of the time including Mark Twain, Cornelius Vanderbilt II and The White House itself. 

At the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 Louis Comfort showcased twenty-seven pieces of jewellery, much in the hand wrought, or Arts and Crafts style. Louis Comfort was not preoccupied with the traditional choice of important diamonds and pearls, the wide-spread utilization of platinum or even with a gemstone’s quality. His primary consideration was with how a gemstone, given its color and ability to diffuse and transform light, could convey the design and feeling he was trying to achieve. The selection of jewellery exhibited encompassed this fascination with colour and light and as a result, Louis Comfort left the worlds fair that year with international acclaim.

Julia Muson, a key designer for Louis Comfort, was also driven to stimulate the ordinary palette and test the limit of conventional style. They shared the same sentiment, and together produced jewellery that explored naturalism and exoticism. When Munson left the firm in 1914, Louis Comfort hired Margreta “Meta” Katherine Overbeck as her replacement. Meta Overbeck had a preference for facetted gemstones and developed designs to incorporate these larger, brilliant-cut gems. Her jewels differed from those designed by her predecessor, and while the overall aesthetic had shifted, Louis Comfort presumably approved her designs. This colourful enamel and multi-gem necklace, is likely a design by Meta Overbeck, under the direction of Louis Comfort Tiffany, circa 1920. 

This necklace was formerly from the collection of artist Irene de Bohus. De Bohus was an American painter who worked with famed Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, and was rumored to have had an affair with Rivera during the brief time he was divorced from Frida Kahlo. De Bohus is known for her mid-twentieth century paintings that often depicted landscapes and nude subject matter. Three of her works are part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. 

As a fellow creative, de Bohus undoubtedly appreciated the naturalism and exoticism of Louis Comfort and Meta Overbeck’s designs. She owned the necklace for thirty years and wore it in a 1942 film in which she appeared. The necklace remained in her family until it was sold to one of de Bohus’ students and close friends, Martha Joy Gottfried. An impressive artist in her own right, Gottfried is regarded as one of Mexico’s first landscape artists. The necklace has remained with Gottfried’s family since her passing in 2014.

Length open 37½''
Pendant length 2¼''
Weight: 57.5g

Date:  1910
Period:  Early 20th century
Origin:  American
Medium: Antique gold, enamel, coloured diamond and vari-coloured gem
Signature: Signed Tiffany & Co.

Categories: Jewellery