Dress ornament, ca. 1923
Georges Fouquet (French, 1862–1957)
Jade, onyx, diamonds, enamel, platinum; H. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm), W. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Gift of Eva and Michael Chow, 2001 (2001.723)
In 1895, Georges Fouquet took over the Paris jewelry firm—at the time known for its wide range of historicist styles—established by his father in 1860. Reinvigorating it with a decidedly modern spirit, he continued to supply his fashionable clientele with exquisite jewels in the latest styles until the late 1930s.
This dress ornament typifies theatrical taste of the mid-1920s for the exoticism of the Far East. Its unexpected combination of colors and juxtaposition of materials—which include Asian jade—are appropriately matched to the motif of a Chinese mask. The extraordinarily large scale of the jewel suggests that it was intended to be a tour-de-force exhibition piece; its weight would easily have torn or compromised the drape of a delicate dress fabric.