Watch Pin

Riker Brothers American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 706

This gold, gemstone, and enamel watch-pin is a fine example of American Art Nouveau jewelry. It was made as two separate sections that were then riveted together. The front section depicts a heron standing amid diamond and pearl-studded cattails and lily pads. The back depicts a sunset rendered in brilliant blue, green, yellow, and red plique-à-jour enamel. In plique-à-jour enameling, the "cells" of color have no backing, allowing light to shine through the transparent enamel, creating the effect of a stained glass window. Plique- à-jour was a favored technique of many jewelers working in the Art Nouveau style, including the great French jeweler René Lalique.

Nineteenth-century Newark, New Jersey, was home to some of America’s most accomplished jewelry manufacturers. By the 1870s it had developed a $5,000,000-a-year industry, responding to consumer demand through the coupling of exquisite workmanship and technological innovation. Its reputation for quality and style was so widespread that its products were sold all worldwide. This watch pin represents one of Newark’s finest firms

Watch Pin, Riker Brothers (active 1892–1926), Gold, plique-à-jour enamel, diamonds, pearl, and ruby, American

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