This 18k gold fix pendant features the profile of Mercury, elegantly adorned in his winged hat, looking off into the distance. His profile is handsome: he has a striking jawline and a Greco-Roman profile in the nose. His winged helmet contains tiny details representing beads and armor, and bringing life and texture to the pendant. Mercury is surrounded by a leafy border, which continues onto the back. The back of the pendant depicts mistletoe, a Roman symbol for peace, and a crescent moon shaped scythe, which symbolizes authority. Mercury is the Roman god of communication, travel, luck, finance, and trickery.
The left hand corner of the pendant is marked with the signature of Edmond-Henri Becker, a French goldsmith and sculptor who studied under Charles Valton. The back of the pendant is marked “FIX”, indicating that the pendant was made by shaping a heavy gold covering over a base metal—a technique that was used extensively in France during the Art Nouveau era. The gold fix on this piece has a beautiful patina that adds charm and detail to the pendant.
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 1” across with a circular bail that measures 4.5 mm across. It weighs 4.2 grams. Circa 1910.