THE FROMENT-MEURICE JEWELLERY ENSEMBLE. Designed by the 19th Century French Master. Comprising 33 Ancient Greek and Roman Gold Coins. . A Unique Example of intricate Gold Jewellery: Comprising 33 authentic ancient Greek and Roman gold coins and crafted by the premier 19th century French goldsmith-jeweller dynasty, the family Froment-Meurice. The reputation of this legendary family was established by François-Desiré Froment-Meurice (1802-1855) and his son Emile (1837-1913). Under Napoleon III, France began her succession of Expositions Internationales Universelles , the World’s Fairs of 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889 and 1900 that served as showcases for French arts, sciences and manufacturer. François-Desiré died immediately before the opening of the 1855 exposition, but this and all the later expos presented the productions of the House of Froment-Meurice as stellar attractions.
Believed to have been a highlight of the firm’s spectacular display at the 1900 World Fair Exposition was this remarkable ensemble of hand-wrought gold jewellery in style à l’antique, formed of 33 ancient Greek and Roman Gold coins, housed in an elongated octagonal, brass-hinged and velvet-lined fitted case with two hasps. The ensemble occupies two levels in the fitted case, with the octagonal top pad lifting out. The largest piece of is a singularly ornate all-Gold necklace composed of 24 barrel beads each decorated with fine filigree, interspersed with 12 acorn-like droops and 11 ancient gold coins (3 Greek, 8 Roman) with ornate bezels. Approximately 43cm long, aggregate weight 210.02g (6.752 troy ounces). All coins are held in place by rounded claws. Suspended from the necklace is an exceptionally elaborate, detachable pinback brooch that can be worn as a separate item. This brooch incorporates four Roman gold coins on a heavy openwork assembly, 63mm x 64mm and an aggregate weight of 50.19g (1.61 troy ounces). Positioned below the first necklace is a second, less complex single-strand necklace composed of intricate twisted gold wire running through flat gold beads with six hanging coins and four small droops. Suspended from this necklace are three Roman coins and five needle-ball tipped droops. This necklace is approximately 225mm long with an aggregate weight of 113.28g (3.642 troy ounces). The second, fixed level presents two sets of highly complex Roman coin ear-rings and a massive “slave bracelet” composed of openwork studded with five Roman gold coins separated by gold-wire cone-shaped ornaments. Inside dimensions when closed 55mm x 50mm, aggregate weight 74.31g (2.389 troy ounces). Flanking this bracelet are two gold coin hairpins designed for the high-piled “Gibson Girl’’ hairstyles of the time. Each is composed of a sunburst from which is suspended a single Roman coin in ornate filigree bezel with three large and two small droops. Attached to the backs are 111mm steel “French pins’’ designed to secure them within the wearer’s hair. Length without pins 42mm, aggregate weight 18.56g and 18.36g (0.596 and 0.5690 troy ounces). Below these pins are two earrings of similar design, to whose backs are attached 27mm gold fixed pins. Length 42mm, weights 16.2g and 16.14g (0.520 and 0.510 troy ounces). At base is a single ornate gold juncture with jump ring, probably used to join detachable parts of the above-described in varying combinations. 23mm long, loop 10mm at widest point, aggregate weight 4.19g (0.134 troy ounces)The case is a fascinating creation in itself. The outer surfaces are covered with rich maroon velvet, the lid bearing the crown of a German Prince, possibly a Prince of Prussia or other leading German state, composed of four pearled arches over an ermine headband. Below this crown are the serif-style letters “C. C.” Inside the case is a satin-lined inner lid bearing the City Arms of Paris under a mural crown with gold-stamped maker’s identification, “FROMENT MEURICE / [Arms] / ORFÈVRE / JOAILLIER / BIJOUTIER” left of the shield, “DE LA / VILLE DE / PARIS” at right and “372 RUE ST. HONORÉ” below. The maker is identified as Goldsmith, Jeweler of the City of Paris.
Total gold weight approximately 512g (16.43 troy ounces)
The 11 coins that make up the gold necklace comprise: Alexander III, The Great (336-323 BC), AV Staters (3); Vespasian (AD 69-79), AV Aureus (1); Trajan (AD 98-117), AV Aurei (4); Hadrian (AD 117-138), AV Aureus (1); Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161), AV Aureus (1); Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180), AV Aureus (1)
The 2 hairpins comprise: Trajan (AD 98-117), AV Aureus (1); Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161), AV Aureus (1)
The 2 earrings comprise: Nero (AD 54-68), AV Aureus (1); Trajan (AD 98-117), AV Aureus (1)
The 4 coins that make up the pinback brooch comprise: Faustina Jnr (wife of Marcus Aurelius), AV Aureus (1); Lucilla (wife of Lucius Verus), AV Aurei (3)
The 5 coins that make up the bracelet comprise: Titus (AD 79-81), AV Aureus (1); Domitian (AD 81-96), AV Aureus (1); Trajan (AD 98-117), AV Aurei (3);
The 9 coins that make up the single-strand necklace comprise: Nero (AD 54-68), AV Aureus (1); Vespasian (AD 69-79), AV Aureus (1); Trajan (AD 98-117), AV Aureui (6); Lucius Verus (AD 161-169), AV Aureus (1) 


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