Sep 18, 2009 at 04:41 o\clock


ART REVIEW; tiffany jewelry : Flames of Color, Bursts of Light BYLINE:  By BENJAMIN GENOCCHIO SECTION: Section 14CN; Column 1; Connecticut Weekly Desk; Pg. 9 LENGTH: 753 words "THE Jewels of Louis Comfort mens tiffany " at the Bruce Museum of Arts and Science in Greenwich is little more than a room. But what a room it is, with almost 50 examples of the great American designer's exquisite jewelry filling a few dozen evenly spaced, dimly lit display cases. In addition, there are three masterpieces of iridescent Tiffany Favrile glass.      Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of the famoustiffany bracelet  and pricey trinket franchise Tiffany & Company. Although celebrated today for his stained glass, vases, and lamps, the younger Tiffany also designed a breathtaking array of jewelry during his long tenure as design director of the company from 1902 to 1918.   Then, as now, Tiffany & Company specialized in expensive, formal jewelry using precious gems. Louis Comfort Tiffany continued to design this kind of mens tiffany necklaces  for the firm, but also created bold, new designs using antique jewelry-making techniques and colorful, semi-precious stones. He liked to refer to these designs as "art jewelry." Drawn from the company's archive collection, the exhibition presents a comprehensive survey of Tiffany's art jewelry. In addition, lengthy wall texts help viewers identify design traits, working methods, materials used and sources of inspiration. All told, the exhibition mounts a convincing case for Tiffany as one of the most innovative jewelry designers of the 20th century.  Tiffany was passionate about nature, and many of his designs contain organic motifs inspired by the landscape surrounding his Long Island home. Among them in this show are three lovely vine brooches, two with central sapphires and a third with a shapely slug of lapis lazuli. Hand-worked gold and textured, varicolored enamel are used, and sometimes even blended, to capture the mottled surface and play of light on the leaves. The overall effect is enchanting. The most fetching object in the exhibition is a superb dragonfly brooch executed in black Australian opals and greengarnets with gold, platinum and silver filigree wings. The piece was first shown at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where it helped cement Tiffany's reputation as the preeminent American exponent of Art Nouveau, that fin-de-siecle decorative arts style favoring sinuous lines based on plant forms and an overall reverence for nature.  Another defining feature of tiffany pendants  art jewelry was his revival of antique jewelry-making techniques. A number of the jewels here contain elaborate filigree work or cannetille (the plaiting or twisting of fine gold wire that allowed gemstones to be set in open spaces), a technique that goes back to the Greeks. Other jewels illustrate granulation, the use of little droplets of gold as decoration. This technique was used in Egypt thousands of years ago.  Various antique enameling techniques, including cloisonne, basse taille, champleve and plique-a-jour, also were used in this jewelry. Plique-a-jour consists of a thin layer of enamel held in un-backed wire cells so that, resembling stained glass, it is transparent or translucent.