The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Bourg-en-Bresse, in the south east of France, specialised in making enamels. The enamellers did not work directly on the finished object, but made individual plaques of enamel in a wide palette of different colours, building up the surface with separate drops of colour and tiny shapes made from gold leaf. The jewellers then set these plaques in jewellery, as if they were precious stones. They often added a tiny stone in the centre of the plaques, creating a rich multi-textured effect.

The British revered French fashion as much in the 19th century as today, and loved the rich colours of Bressan enamels. They believed that these pieces were authentic French peasant jewellery but most never formed part of traditional costume.

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  • Title: Necklace
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1865/1874
  • Location: Bourg-en-Bresse
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 32.5 cm, Width: 6.8 cm, Depth: 0.5 cm
  • Provenance: Given by Lt. Col. R. H. R. Brocklebank DSO, in accordance with his wife's wishes
  • Medium: Silver-gilt set with enamels and coloured pastes

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