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Masterful European Designs

 

Tonquin-Ruby was designed by Wedgwood’s legendary art director, John Goodwin. The scallop-shaped china features a deep ruby background color similar to lack, a resin derived from the tonquin tree (an East Indies tree known for dark red resin and black seeds used to make perfume). The overlaid chrysanthemum, peony, and anemone designs are so richly and finely drawn that they are nearly three-dimensional! Tonquin-Ruby was introduced in 1930, the same year the company began celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of Josiah Wedgwood I, founder of the company. Although the pattern’s introduction began only months after the stock market crash in New York in 1929, Tonquin-Ruby was a worldwide success, remaining in production at Wedgwood for six decades.

Produced from 1931 to 1961, Baccarat Directoire crystal features a clean, streamlined shape. With its round foot and multi-sided stem, Directoire is a magnificent example of European crystal making with strong Modern influence. In 1764, King Louis XV of France granted the Bishop Montmorency-Laval of Metz rights to build a glassworks in the town of Baccarat. By the 1830s the company was producing crystal glassware, candelabras, and banisters for palaces and manor houses in England and across Europe – even crystal hookahs for Constantinople! By the end of the nineteenth century, Baccarat crystal was known throughout the world. In 1885, orders poured in from India, the United States, England, Mexico, and Brazil. Baccarat crystal has graced the tables of King Louis XVIII, King Charles X, Emperor Napoleon III, and many French presidents.

Buccellati Silver Empire is a gorgeous sterling pattern that features a beveled, outlined design, scallop shape at the end of the handle, geometric and floral design elements, and a glossy finish. While Empire is very stylish, its understated design is an ideal complement to the more elaborate Tonquin-Ruby and Directoire patterns. Buccellati is a name known in the silver world since the 1750s, when Contardo Buccellati gained renown as a goldsmith in Milan, Italy. In 1903, one of Contardo’s descendents, Mario Buccellati, continued the family tradition when he began working as an apprentice at Beltrami & Beltrami, a jewelry firm located near the La Scala opera house in Milan. By 1919, Mario had taken over the company, and focused on the art of engraving. He gained acclaim with his Renaissance-inspired designs and detailed engraving and piercing methods that made his pieces resemble fine fabrics like linen, tulle, and lace. Mario’s exquisite artistry prompted Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio to refer to him as the “prince of goldsmiths.” Over the years, Buccellati has crafted jewelry for the royal families of Italy, Spain, and Egypt. Today, the Buccellati firm continues its tradition of excellence under the leadership of the Buccellati family.

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