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"Bow" Brooch

22kt & 18kt gold
cultured pearls
1 15/16”H x 2 1/2”W x 3/4”D

The "bow" motif in jewelry dates to the mid-17th century.   Elise B. Misiorowski, then Director of the Museum of the Gemological Institute of America, wrote in "Tying the Knot"*  “the bowknot was a strong symbol of love in jewelry designed by Gilles Legeré for the French court of Louis XIV. Loose double bows of gold or silver, enameled and studded with gemstones, were designed as necklaces and brooches…

“These "bow" brooches were also called sévigné brooches after the Marquise Marie de Sévigné, an avid correspondent whose lively letters provide an insider's view of society at that time.  The popularity of the sévigné brooch continued in the 18th century,…but disappeared during the French Revolution because of its close association with the royal court.  One hundred years later, ribbon bows made a strong comeback in garland-style jewelry fashionable among the upper classes between 1890 and 1915…

“Throughout the 20th century, the bow has persisted, its shape and character changing from sleek and stylized during the Art Deco period to bold and sculptural or abstract and unstructured, evolving with each new decade.”

My "Bow" is a highly stylized, late 20th century interpretation of the classical motif.  My Soumak technique is ideally suited to this design for it enables me to create a dense weave on the back band, weaving in place the framework that holds a traditional pin stem and safety catch, thereby fully integrating the attachment mechanism into the Brooch.  It also enables me to fan out the warp wires to create the open lacy areas.  The motif is classical.  My interpretation is contemporary: elegant…understated…feminine.

* E. Misiorowski, "Tying the Knot," Professional Jeweler, February 1999

Click the image below for an expanded view


Barbara Berk Designs, LLC

P.O. Box 4430, Foster City, CA 94404

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