French Art Nouveau Mermaid & Sea Monster Pin


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An extremely rare and beautifully made French Art Nouveau pin depicting a sirène (mermaid) and sea monsters. The rarity of the design cannot be overstated—for every 50 or so griffins maybe one mermaid piece turns up. The mermaid is depicted within a trefoil border created by the bodies of the writhing sea monsters. A garland of lilypads (interesting that the designer didn’t remember that lilypads grow in freshwater while mermaids live in oceans) preserves her nether region modesty. She is shown blowing a large conch shell horn that was used to calm the seas for favored sailors and to brings storms to doom the unlucky. The pin retains its original pinstem and clasp marked with French 18K gold marks and also with the master goldsmith’s mark for Alfred Rayat who worked in Paris 1885-1907. A folding bail could be added for wear as a pendant.

• Origin: France, ca. 1900
• Condition: excellent
• Dimensions: 1-3/8” x 1-5/16”
• Weight: 11.0 grams

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