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$ 4,500

1920s French Art Deco Diamond Onyx Rock Crystal Carved Jade Bi Disc Bird Brooch

Origin France
Period 1900-1949
Materials Jade Platinum
Condition Good.
Creation Date 1920
Description Dimensions are :

40mm across left to right by 30mm top to bottom
Thickness 7 mm, depth with clasp 10mm
French hallmarked, Signed by indistinct maker mark on black onyx case back


Catalog Essay

During the 1920s, inspiration was shifting away from the creative influences found in nature of the late 1800s and towards more rigid and sharper linear designs achieved by incorporating geometric patterns. As seen in the present example , the use of Jade was selected as the main materials incorporated to infuse the geometric design and shape with the taste of Far away lands and exotic travel which have been one of the most consistent themes in jewelry since the 1700s and ever more during the 1920s with the newly found discovery of King Tutankhamen’s Tomb in Egypt.

Jewelry design firms sought to incorporate unique and exotic materials matched with exotic themes and shapes as a means to create that same mysterious allure in an object which can be worn fashionably as a statement piece accessory. Over the years many of the most famous firms have drawn from the exotic elements of such materials as Jade to generate such an effect and draw further from the asian style of design.

Close examination reveals characteristics, design and shape of the present carved jade disc which closely resembles the ancient Chinese artifact design for a “Bi Disc”. A Bi disc is known in ancient Chinese culture as a flat geometric shape of round jade with small center cut out and adorned with ornate surface carvings who’s motifs represented ancient Chinese deities/gods associated with the sky and heaven. Additionally, interesting to note the present brooch features a very similarly described motif mentioned above of a carefully carved scene of two birds and further adds to the allure of the design and its meaning in art and design history.

Please enjoy some examples which we listed below:

Chinese tradition associates the Bi disc in ancient Chinese culture consistently with heaven and earth-like imagery, suggesting that the disk's circular shape also bears symbolic significance to the early stages of development of cosmological concepts that remained important in Chinese culture during the Warring States and Han periods.

Additionally, Bi Jade Discs hold special meaning as standing for qualities and powers the wearer wanted to invoke or embody.
During their creation they were extremely difficult to create given lack of technology and their very pocession was considered a testimony to the concentration of power and resources only found in a small elite who could wield one. They were used to establish rank as an emperor, king or duke and furthermore during war Bi discs were provided to the victor by the defeated forces as a means to represent submission to the victorious army. Owning one was both a power and status symbol which is most probably why the design firm here decided to incorporate this design into their brooch as these two concepts are common themes of all art symbolism.


Additionally it is interesting to note the motif which is carved of two birds since several ancient cultures have held these winged creatures to symbolize the human soul and considered their flight to be representative of the soul’s journey in pursuit of higher knowledge. Birds are generally considered a link between the earth and the heaven, and symbolic of transcendence and eternal life.

With their ability to roam the earth as well as soar up into the sky, birds symbolize freedom, endurance, courage, determination, control, authority, focus, skill, mental acuity and also opportunism. Meanwhile, their proximity to the heavens made them seen as messengers of the gods.

Additionally, they are associated with resurrection, renewal, and physical and spiritual rejuvenation such as for healing and peacefulness as well as creation through deep focus. In Asia culture, birds are also known for the symbolism of long life and happiness.
Gemstones Jade
Metals Platinum, Silver
Styles / Movements Artist Jewelry, Fine Jewelry, Rare Jewels
Incollect Reference Number 321520
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