This gold chain has five oval enameled pendants depicting personifications of Europe and the Seasons. Each oval is framed in diamonds interspersed with long stylized palmette-shaped pendants, and forty-one leaf-shaped pendants, decorated with granulation and wirework suspended from alternately plain and coiled tubular links.
The use of granulation and images of classical maidens, as well as the overall organization, demonstrate the designer's dependence upon ancient Greek gold jewelry for inspiration. Like the Castellani firm in Rome, Eugène Fontenay reproduced jewelry in ancient Greek, Roman, and other historical styles. However, not only did Fontenay copy period originals, he also took motifs from these styles and, with them, created original designs.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Marking: Eagle's head in double outline (struck twice) - (Paris restricted warranty mark for gold, 1847 to date)
Artist:Case and enamel design by the Firm of Lucien Falize (French, Paris 1839–1897 Paris) Date:1881Medium:Silver, partly enameled gold, hardstones, rock crystal, amethysts, and diamondsAccession:1991.113a–fOn view in:Gallery 556