Designer Paulding Farnham American
Manufacturer Tiffany & Co.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 706

This extraordinary brooch is one of a small group of enameled and jeweled orchids first designed by G. Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co.’s display at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle. Fashioned with remarkable botanical accuracy to resemble a rare species of orchid called Oncidium jonesianum, it displays the novelty and impeccable craftsmanship that drew such wide acclaim at the Paris fair. Farnham’s exhibit was singled out for its "fertility of imagination and power of invention" and helped to win a gold medal in jewelry for the company—the first such award ever achieved by an American firm. Not only were these naturalistic blooms exquisite and highly original, but their invention paralleled a growing passion for cultivating exotic orchids. Indeed, Tiffany designers had access not only to illustrated books on orchids, but also to actual specimens purchased for the design studio.

Brooch, Paulding Farnham (1859–1927), Gold, diamonds, and enamel, American

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