French Art Nouveau 18K Gold & Diamond Sliding Locket by Emile Dropsy

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A lovely early Art Nouveau 18K gold sliding locket by the acclaimed medallist Jean-Baptiste Emile Dropsy. The front cover shows a bare-shouldered woman wearing a diamond necklace and hair ornament feeding a diamond seed to a bird in mid-flight, all surrounded by a bough of chestnut leaves. The diamond accents (“habillé”) add a bit of sparkle to the design. The bird appears to be a dove, representative of “love” in Victorian symbology, while the chestnut leaves represent the sentiment “do me justice.” Taken together, the message means some along the lines of wishfulness for being treated well in love. Dropsy was an early Art Nouveau designer and his female designs tend to be a bit more teasing Gibson Girl than the more overtly sexy nudes that came along a decade or so later. The back cover is decorated with a curved spray of roses complete with thorns. Roses were also used to symbolize love, and when thorns are present, sometimes hinted that love is not without occasional pain. The interior of the locket retains its original frames and mirrored glass, which could be replaced with photos if desired. The locket is stamped with French 18K gold marks.

• Origin: France, ca 1895
• Condition: excellent, all original, a small ding on the back cover visible in strong raking light
• Dimensions: 1-1/8” x 1-1/8”
• Weight: 11.9 grams
• Approximate Total Diamond Weight: .06 carat

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