Do Over: Dragons Awake

Here’s a love Nouveau-ish brooch I picked up for 50 cents at a garage sale last May. It was missing its centre stone and it took all summer to find an appropriate one that also fit the setting (it’s an agate, the original was likely glass).

I say its Nouveau-ish because it has many design motifs of Art Nouveau-era jewellery — mythical hybrid creatures (like this Ampithere) and translucent stones, for example. But its made from mass produced materials and Nouveau like Arts and Crafts was a reaction against the machine age. It also has a rollover clasp — a hardware that didn’t really catch on until around 1910, by which which time the Art Nouveau movement was in its last days.

There was an an Art Nouveau revival in the ’60s and ’70s, but this brooch definitely predates that era.

So if it is antique, it would probably be a Nouveau-inspired Czech piece from between 1910 and 1930. Bohemian jewelry of this time is collectible because it is pretty unique. Cut off from the fashion capitals, the Czech designers interpreted the trends as they saw fit. But they also employed a high degree of craftsmanship. In fact, the town of Jablonec nad Nisou, in Northern Bohemia, was arguably Europe’s biggest producer of costume jewellery.