Kirsten's Corner

18K Gold Art Nouveau Round Medallion with Maiden Profile


A profile of a maiden looks off into the distance, her hair cascading down her shoulders. She is framed by a border of 13 rose cut diamonds, masterfully set in platinum. The border is reticulated, creating open space around the pendant, giving the piece a bright, airy feel. The detail is stunning, and the 18k gold shines beautifully. Reminiscent of a Gibson Girl, these iconic Art Nouveau maidens were once considered the ideal for feminine beauty, and depicted women as autonomous, stylish, and sensual. The maiden on this pendant wears two strands of necklaces around her neck—jewelry wearing jewelry! 

This particular pendant is special because it is also a love token. The back of the pendant is engraved with a monogram intertwining the letters M & S with the date 12-28-1910. 

Gold Medal jewelry was hugely popular during the Art Nouveau era. Cameo and intaglio jewelry had recently gone out of fashion, and the jewelry trend shifted toward medallions that emulated Ancient Greek and Roman medals and coins. The expertise of French medal engravers, combined with new technology like the lathe, made these beautiful pendants accessible to the masses, and they quickly became a highly sought after trend, popular in both Europe and the United States. Jewelers, sculptors, and even poster artists collaborated to create the designs used in these pendants—which range from maidens and floral motifs, to Greek and Roman imagery. 

The pendant is marked on the bail as 18k gold. It weighs 4.3 grams and measures 7/8” across. The bail is 5 x 7 mm. 

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