Category Archives: Lalique

Lalique’s Sea Holly Comb

Decay is sensual in itself. The Mediterranean Sea Holly’s cone flower turns brown in the fall, and its silvery blue bracts cannot hold water anymore. In a flower’s life cycle, death comes without tears.

With a Japanese inner eye, Lalique must have noticed the sea hollies in a garden one day, as their decaying colors stood out. When he got home, he opened his drawing book. “Part yellow, chiseled gold, chiseled green-silver parts, violet parts sculpted in the horn, and patinated silver — blue parts — blue sapphire glass cabochons,” he wrote.

In French Symbolism, clarity is ephemeral, but the important thing is that the artist had a vision at all. Lalique saved his vision on a comb.

It is a curvilinear mirror image of two gold cone flowers with patinated silver stems and leaves. These plants frame the top of a large sapphire-colored glass cabochon. The lighter oxidized silver leaves in the middle, whose gold veins show they are not getting water, are part of a second plant. Although they frame the bottom of the cabochon, the second plant continues in delicately carved horn on the bottom of the comb, with the stems doubling as the comb’s outside tines.

The signature of a hand-made Lalique piece is also correct.

I did not see any silver-green or violet in this comb. Perhaps when he started working, he decided to keep those ideas in his drawing book. However, Lalique’s engineering genius is in full force here, because the silvery blue color on the leaves is achieved through the reflected light from the sapphire-colored glass cabochons.

That was his original idea, and along with all the other elements of this comb, it sold at auction on 6 June 2015 for $205,000.

Lalique Hair Combs and Tiaras

Victorian diamond brooches came with different settings, so they could be worn separately or together as a tiara. Art Nouveau brooches could also serve multiple purposes. Indeed, some were designed as a tiara and ended up as a brooch. Such is the case with this bee-and-flower ornament designed by Rene Lalique in 1905/6. A pencil-and-ink…Continue Reading

Lalique Tiaras: From God to a Rooster’s Breakfast

The setting of gems is profound meditation. How can a tiara or crown give its wearer the verisimilitude of God on Earth? Rene Lalique couldn’t care less. He transformed the appearance of jewelry with new themes. Combining French Symbolist philosophy with ideas from Japanese art, he incorporated gem setting into raptors’ claws in this comb,…Continue Reading

Rene Lalique and Calouste Gulbenkian

They were friends for 50 years. Perhaps that’s why Gulbenkian (right) obtained diplomatic immunity and became the Iranian ambassador to Pétain’s Vichy government in 1939. On October 30, 1939, 79-year-old René Lalique rushed to his factory in Wingen, Alcase. The glass-making fires were out. He tried to save his priceless glass molds, but the German…Continue Reading

Fake Lalique: Real Lalique

This article on Google documents fake Lalique auctions on E-bay. Beginning collectors, please remember: Lalique, LC Tiffany, Faberge and other great jewelers transformed jewelry with ideas: metamorphosis, symbolism, nature, modernism — the same ideas, which were inspiring Rodin, Redon, Rimbaud, and artists all across the Western World. Japonisme came from welding Edo Japanese art and…Continue Reading

Brooch / Hairpin at the Musée Lalique

Different fittings can attach to many extraordinary pieces of jewelry. For example, a brooch could become a hair ornament, quite easily. Lalique made this corsage into a breathtaking fairy tale of 18K gold, diamond leaves, mother-of-pearl flowers, and green enamel. It is on display at the Musée Lalique, located on the Rue du Hochberg in…Continue Reading

René Lalique and Philippe Wolfers

Lalique introduced horn into the jewelry repertoire. In this tiara, c. 1902, the iridescent horn has different hues, lighter in the center, darker on the sides. The flowers have diamond centers. A gold hinge attaches the tiara to a three-pronged tortoiseshell comb. Lalique uses a curved horn base to showcase flowers cast in glass with…Continue Reading

Lalique Comb

I cannot believe there is a Lalique comb that hasn’t been featured on this blog. ;-P This one is “Drone with Umbels,” c. 1901-2. It is made from carved horn, gold, and enamel. An umbel is a flower consisting of a series of short stalks with small blooms, such as Queen Anne’s Lace.Continue Reading