Art Nouveau Sterling Plique à Jour Paste Owl Powder Compact Locket
"Plique à Jour" is a French term that means "letting in daylight". The term refers to the jewelry technique in which enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné, but with no backing. This allows light to shine through the transparent or translucent enamel, forming a beautiful stained glass appearance.
This incredible and very unusual powder compact/locket from the Art Nouveau era (ca1900) is a wonderful example of Plique à Jour jewelry! Crafted in sterling silver, this round three-dimensional locket pendant features the wide-eyed face of a wise old owl. A multitude of colorful enameled cells represent the owl's feathers, decorating the surface in vibrant shades of light turquoise blue, soft green, and deep greyish purple, each individually separated by veins of polished silver. The overall effect is an incredible "stained glass" appearance that catches the light beautifully when in motion. At the center of the owl's round face, are its vivid eyes, which are represented by brilliant red French paste stones. In between the eyes, is the owl's raised and pointed silver nose, featuring fine etched details, and at the top of the locket, are two upright ears whose light blue enameled cells catch the light beautifully due to their open backs. Finishing the already fantastic design are eleven sparkling French paste stones set in a crescent-shaped setting at the base of the owls face. Originally a powder compact, the locket is hinged at the bottom and opens at the top providing you a mirror inside and an option to personalize it with a special photograph or small trinket as the interior powder feature is no longer present. Stamped on the back, is the word "STERLING" and at the top, a simple round bail can be found, perfect for hanging from a favorite chain. An exceptionally colorful and elaborate piece, this wonderful locket pendant would be a perfect addition to any Plique collection!
Measurements: The locket pendant hangs a little more than 2 1/8" long (including the bail), measures 1 5/8" in diameter and is 5/8" thick.
Condition: The overall condition of the locket is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the silver setting and all of the paste stones are intact. There is very minimal wear to the four or five of the plique-à-jour cells, however, nothing that is noticeable without close examination. The bail, hinge, clasp and interior mirror are all secure, intact and in excellent working condition.