Neo-Gothic and neo-antique jewelry

Neo-Gothic and neo-antique jewelry

  • Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France, Duchess of Angoulême (1778-1851).

    CAMINADE Alexandre François (1789 - 1862)

  • Necklace called "Gothic chain".


  • Earring with a cameo.


  • Bracelet.

    FALIZE Alexis (1811 - 1898)

Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France, Duchess of Angoulême (1778-1851).

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bulloz

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Title: Necklace called "Gothic chain".

Author : PITAUX J.P. (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Emerald, opal, gold, ruby ​​Circa 1830, necklace in morocco case with the number crowned with Amélie Empress of Brazil. As a pendant, a cross decorated with two united hands, symbol of "faith".

Storage location: National Museum of Malmaison Castle website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Picture reference: 00-003747 / MM721

Necklace called "Gothic chain".

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

To close

Title: Earring with a cameo.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 2.5 - Width 1.5

Technique and other indications: Crystal, gold.

Storage location: National Museum of Malmaison Castle website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Picture reference: 03-012611 / MM.40.47.4853

Earring with a cameo.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

To close

Title: Bracelet.

Author : FALIZE Alexis (1811 - 1898)

Creation date : 1882

Date shown: 1882

Dimensions: Height 2.4 - Width 6.6

Technique and other indications: enamel, gold

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - All rights reserved

Picture reference: 92-004392 / OAO1230

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - All rights reserved

Publication date: March 2008

Historical context

19th century historicism owes much to Romanticism. The neo-Gothic style knows its greatest vogue under the July Monarchy; Victor Hugo publishes Notre Dame de Paris (1831); jewelers translate this language into goldsmith's work and carving, creating "feudal paraphernalia" (Vever) adorned with motifs of helmets, coats of arms, crests, knights.
The neo-Renaissance style reinterprets 16th century jewelry, drawing inspiration from Holbein, Vinci or Raphael and drawing from the architectural repertoire of the court of Francis I. The jewelers of the romantic period distinguished themselves in both genres, sometimes mixing them in the same work.
The artists then revive, from the 1850s to the 1890s, Greco-Latin and Middle Eastern Antiquity. Archaeological sites in Italy and in Asia Minor, which bring to light numerous objects of Roman, Etruscan, Trojan or supposedly such art; the digging of the Suez Canal, which caused a craze for Egypt, renewed interest in these genres. Eugène Fontenay (1824-1887) distinguished himself in the creation of jewels reminiscent of Greek or Roman art, of "perfect manufacture". For example, he creates earrings and brooches in which are embedded tiny enamel subjects inspired by murals found in Pompeii.

Image Analysis

The belt buckle and bracelet of the set of the Duchess of Angoulême, Charles X’s daughter-in-law, mimic the "cathedral" style, with the necklace and earrings looking oddly rather mismatched. The jewels of the end of the Restoration known as at the Cathedral are often more extravagant than those of the portrait: belt buckles representing scenes of pilgrimage, Greek or Latin crosses, Maltese or Jerusalem crosses, rosaries displayed as ornaments.
The so-called Gothic chain necklace, offered in 1830 by Queen Hortense to her niece Amélie Empress of Brazil, in gold adorned with opals, rubies and emeralds, is quite typical of French romanticism of the first half of the 19th century. . On the medallions are Gothic letters which form the dedication “your Hortense”. The cross pendant is engraved with two united hands, a symbol of faith.
The simple and elegant earring mimics an antique gold-rimmed crystal cameo engraving. This graceful specimen of 19th century antique taste is difficult to date with precision.
Finally the bracelet is signed by Alexis Falize (1811-1898), specialist in enamels. It is a large, rigid ratchet gold circle covered with enamels that imitate medieval motifs. The date of manufacture, 1880, appears among the enamelled motifs in Gothic letters. This very personal and original interpretation of neo-Gothic is due to one of the great artists of the 19th century, who rediscovered Limoges enamels.


The best historicizing jewelry belongs to the category of fine art jewelry, intended for a clientele concerned with originality. This style represents a path of remarkable creations. These ornaments use few precious stones and pearls of great value but enamels, baroque pearls, uncut cabochon stones. They favor gold and silver, engraved, chiseled, worked according to old techniques found, such as repoussé, niello or filigree. Repoussé is a goldsmith's technique intended to obtain a relief on a metal surface, by hand, with a hammer or with a chisel. Niello is a black enamel inlay based on metallic sulphides on a silver ground. The filigree decorates metal surfaces with very fine wires welded to a background, a process attributed to the Etruscans.
The work and inventiveness required by these jewels explain Conversely that the public has turned away from less successful ornaments that mimic the unimaginative past. The historicizing style was abandoned in the 1890s, when Art Nouveau appeared.

  • jewelry store
  • Middle Ages
  • neoclassicism


Henri VEVERFrench jewelry in the 19th century 1800-1900Paris, H. Fleury, 1906-1908.Companies & Representations(n ° 20, 2005) "Powers of the Gothic"

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Jacqueline VIRUEGA, "Neo-Gothic and neo-antique jewel"

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