A Swiss gold and enamel bracelet made for the Turkish market
circa 1830, formed as a salamander, the articulated body with taille d'épargne enamel in yellowish green and black simulating scale work, the head and back with alternating collet-set cabochon rubies and pearls
Length: 18cm (mouth to tail tip) Estimate £ 8,000-12,000 + fees Swiss goldsmiths and watch-makers based in Geneva in the 19th century benefitted from an international market created by the intersection of trade routes between Turkey, China, India and Europe. Craftsmen produced innovative gem-set designs using ornate patterns in brightly coloured enamel for foreign clients. The success of watches made for export encouraged the production of jewellery and objects of vertu in the new style. These luxury objects allowed for greater flexibility in design. Extraordinary snuff-boxes, étuis, scent-bottles, carnet-de-bals and vinaigrettes were produced in the form of insects, fruit, animals and reptiles. Few examples survive, including a vinaigrette in the form of a dragon's head (Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 1-2 December 2015, lot 293) and three enamelled and ruby-set articulated snake necklaces (S. J. Phillips: A Bond Street Legacy; Sotheby's, London, 18 October 2017, lots 22-24).
The salamander form of this bracelet anticipates Renaissance revival jewels of the late 19th century, albeit with a whimsical and fantastical approach favoured by the Turkish, Indian and Chinese markets. Most famously the salamander is emblematic of fire and passion. It is also a symbol of endurance owing to its mythical ability to walk through fire and extinguish flames.