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Jacques LIPCHITZ (1891-1973)

Menorah Pendant/Brooch, mid-1960s

Unique lost-wax cast pendant made in electrum with a rough textured surface (possibly representing an animal's skin) and decorated within a circle with a stylised depiction of the Menorah of the Temple with six branches and seven lights above a horizontal bar, an additional brooch fastening on the reverse.

Marks: Scratched signature J. Lipchitz inscribed in the original wax.

Dimensions: H. 12.3 cm; W. max. 11.3 cm; 285 gms

Provenance: public bank safe deposit auction, New Orleans, c. 2014, and consigned to Bonhams 2015.

Exhibition: To be included in the forthcoming exhibition curated by Diane Venet, From Picasso to Jeff Koons. The Artist as Jeweller, Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, 7th March - 8th July, 2018

Analysis by X-RayFluorence Spectroscopy in the Assay Office of the Goldsmith's Company, London, (no. L2687X) shows that the body of the pendant contained 611.4 ppt gold, 358.6 ppt silver, and 30.0 ppt copper, i.e. 14.6ct gold. This mixture of gold, silver and copper, however, also equates to that of the naturally occurring alloy electrum, which was known to the ancient Greeks as 'white gold', as it colour ranges from pale to bright yellow depending on the relative proportions of gold and silver. In antiquity, sources were known in western Anatolia where ancient Lydian coinage was made in electrum before the technology to separate the gold from the silver was invented. It is even possible that the original menorah of the First Temple in Jerusalem was made of electrum, which maybe why Lipchitz chose to cast this pendant in this very unusual alloy.

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