- Total Carat Weight: 0.82 ct
- Precious Metal Weight: 4.71 dwt
- Precious Metal Material: 14k yellow gold
- Dimensions: This brooch measures 2.04 long x 1.37 wide x 0.4705 inches deep (including the stem to the pin's reverse).
- Weight: An utterly exceptional 7.30 grams
- Markings: Both the stem and the catch are stamped with a 14K indicating the gold purity followed by the iconic Krementz & Co. maker's mark, a bifurcated cyma-like swirl that is a stylized derivative of the plumed knight helmets of the 16th century. A plume feature affixed to a helmet was called a panache, signified status and wealth, and was often in the color of the family's arms. In suit, another Krementz & Co. maker's mark was that of a "Square Eared Nicked Wedge" escutcheon (shield) topped with a plumed knight helmet flanked by a pair of medieval poleaxes. Across the escutcheon, a "bend" (diagonal banner) extends from Dexter Chief (upper right) down to Sinister Base (lower left) with the text, "Heraldic". Presumably, the notable Krementz & Co. mark we recognize most widely today is a simplified pictorial of the above. Krementz & Co. was founded in 1866 in Newark, New Jersey and shuttered by 2012.
- Era: This brooch is believed to date to circa 1925-1935, dating it to the height of the Art Deco period, which coincided and bled into the Art Moderne period. However, it is possible that this brooch dates somewhat earlier, as indicated by the fastener mechanisms on the reverse: the push-tab catch that receives the pointed end of the stem was a sort first introduced in the US around 1912, while the round-hinge on the opposite side became most popular during the 1920s. A more precise date range could likely be established if the shop had access to an original Krementz & Co. salesman's catalogue. If ever access is granted, this listing will surely be updated!
- Buyer Notes: While the market is flooded with lovely enameled Krementz pieces, those boasting the lotus (water lily) motif is remarkably scarce, and therefore very collectible. The flower exudes thousands of years' worth of symbolism and history, which serve to enhance this brooch's beauty. Please kindly observe areas of wear and/or loss to the enamel. This is absolutely expected of a near-century old jewel that has been lovingly worn, enjoyed and passed on countless times during its lifetime, and is worth keeping in mind when evaluating the pre-loved character of this piece.
Valuation: At the time of research and listing, this brooch is the only one exactly of its kind available on the open market. As such, this brooch's average market value was calculated using comparably weighty 14 karat gold brooches from the same era crafted by famed jewelry houses including and akin to Krementz & Co., and with those brooches bearing the desirable enameling (including expected areas of wear and/or loss) and the iconic floral motif. Given these factors and those mentioned below (scroll down to the third arrow under "The Fine Print" titled "Items are Evaluated"), this brooch has an average market value of $1,945 at the time of research and listing.
- Please also refer to this exact brooch model which sold at auction in Boston, Massachusetts by Bonhams Auctioneers (est. 1793 in London) in December 2004 for $1,763, which has the buying power of $2,833.35 USD in 2023 (adjusted for inflation).
- Furthermore, a pair of Krementz earrings designed to accompany this model brooch (about 9 grams in total weight, enameled in kind and bearing two similarly-sized pearls) are currently listed on eBay for $2,095.
- Center Stone Type: Pearl
- Center Stone Count: One (1)
- Center Stone Dimensions: 4.75 mm
- Center Stone Carat Weight: 0.82 ct by formula, per the specific gravity of cultured pearl
- Center Stone Shape: Whole, round/spheroid
- Center Stone Color: White with cool-silvery orient
- Center Stone Clarity: Opaque with excellent luster
Hailing from the intersection of the Art Deco (1918-1937) and Art Moderne (1920-1945) periods, this brooch reflects a refined whimsy and feminine romance in its form, scale, color and subject matter. It centers an ultra luscious, bright white pearl, weighing in at a sizable 0.82 carats by formula, a perfectly sophisticated touch that is organically framed by an ever so slightly asymmetrical lotus flower. The petals of its bloom seem to visually unfurl to reveal the satiny pearl within, and sweetly animate the jewel just as much as the rounded leaves and pair of buds that harmoniously sprout up along the plant's stem. The brooch's curved silhouette is elegant indeed, smartly designed to compliment a lady's décolletage while maintaining the natural form of the submerged half of the lotus flower that swells and shifts beneath the surface of the water. The two large, round leaves sprawl out in radiant flattery to the petaled bloom itself, and are further balanced by the pair of lotus buds in their midst.
The enameling style of this piece is what is known as basse-taille enamel work, which was achieved by the brooch's original artisan through carving a very low relief pattern into the 14k gold substrate and painting the work with the iridescent enamel. The enamel's kiss of semi-translucency plays a key role in the optical effect of the artistry, as it allows light to pass in and through the enamel so as to bounce off of the metallic base and highlight the subtle dimensionality below. Enameled jewelry has been a keen favorite of many generations and across many cultures for good reason, and was no less beloved by the turn of the century and into the Jazz Age. Enamelwork tends to bring jewelry to life, to fancifully energize its design and meaning. Being that enameling was all completed by hand, such work is all the more outstanding. Indeed, the hand of the artist is just as perceptible and celebrated within this gleaming ornament as the lotus symbolism is illustrated in every detail.
Egyptian Revival jewelry included a range of motifs, most memorably scarabs, pharaohs, and lotus blossoms, all of which gained popularity by the 1880s with the opening of the Suez Canal a few decades prior in 1869. Likewise, world travel opened up to the growing middle class around the 1870s-1890s, generating an appreciation for designs from Egypt and the Middle East by a broader global-- largely Western-- audience. Eventually, such designs were popularized, reproduced and incorporated in the decorative, building and wearable arts across Europe and America. The style continued to trend throughout and greatly influence the Art Deco period following the discovery of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb and all of its glorious treasures in 1922. With this contextual history in mind, this astounding brooch is itself a significant window back in time, something of a tangible relic of the age's most favored trends.
Ancient Egypt, China and India believed that the lotus represented creation and rebirth, as it grows in the swampiness of muddy silt, and yet, blooms silky, vibrant flowers. Along with papyrus reeds, lotus buds symbolized the unification of two parts, therefore alluding to the value of marriage and partnership. The flower is also understood as an expression of resilient strength, and of immaculate transcendence. Specifically, whitish to cream colored lotuses are thought to be spiritual untanglers of negativity, emblems of purity and innocence, and dismantlers of obstacles of the mind and heart. With such rich meanings, the lotus (and water lily) motifs are celebrated as talismanic blessings for the wearer.
While wonderfully wearable exactly as it is, this brooch is also an excellent candidate for a conversion project, should the next caretaker so desire. Please note the photo of the brooch held up to offer an idea of what it could look like as a stationary pendant necklace or the like. This piece is incredibly romantic, beautifully feminine and is a special remnant of a bygone era. It has clearly been carefully treasured and oft enjoyed over the last ~100 years, and is ready to be cherished again.
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