Antique 20K Art Nouveau Griffin and Dragon Mythological Beasts brooch

An incredible Art Nouveau brooch with two mythological, diamond-winged creatures battling over a diamond. It is exciting to see mythological beasts in jewelry and these two seem to be especially frisky and fierce! Art Nouveau artists loved to highlight the whimsical, the magical and the dream-like, often combining real and surreal subjects in their designs. Art Nouveau design also often merges human (usually female), botanical, animal, and celestial figures, creating scenes that are exciting and unique. Mythological beasts are PERFECT subjects for Art Nouveau jewelry since they symbolize the union of fact and fantasy in their physical appearance. Here we see a Griffin-like creature with the head of a lioness, the torso (bare breasted) of a woman, the wings and legs of an eagle, and the tail of a dragon. Her opponent has the body of a serpent and the head, torso and wings of a dragon. The piece has an ouroboros quality to it, with the tails of both creatures wrapping around the scene and effectively framing the piece. The wings of the beasts - bird-like for the Griffin and bat-like for the Dragon - are pavé set with rose cut diamonds. A quarter carat diamond is the object of their battle and they seem evenly matched! Substantial 20K gold setting with a lattice-style trim and with original pin and catch. 

Measurements: 14.6 grams, 1 1/4" round
Era: Art Nouveau, 1890s-1910s
Markings: N/A, x-rayed for 20K gold

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