Auvergne

French regional jewellery - Auvergne

BIJOUX REGIONAUX AN

 

CIENS - BIJOU REGIONAL


folk costume and cross from Auvergne

 

 

The regional jewellery from Auvergne is characterised by enamelled crosses and Holy Spirit pendants of varying shapes, depending on the exact area of production and use.  The crosses always had three drop-shaped pendants hanging from the arms and the base which most likely represented the tears of Christ who was said to have wept three times (though some say they represent the lead tips on the whips used by the Romans to flagellate Christ.)  These tears are sometimes missing from the crosses and it is likely that they were removed by their owners either to keep up with fashion or to balance out the design when one of them was lost. 

The Holy Spirit pendants are very stylised and in some cases, such as those from Brioude or Clermont Ferrand, they look more like crosses and it is possible that they indeed evolved from crosses.  These pendants are set with garnets and sometimes with citrines which are backed with foil.  The foil is generally embellished with a red spot in the centre, and this gives the citrine a colour which changes according to the angle from which it is viewed.

 

 

 

 

         
Jeweller "A la Topaze" d'Aurillac, specialising in reginal jewellery from Auvergne

 

 

 

 


Jewllery shop of Mr. Camps fromAurillac, specialising in reginal jewellery from Auvergne
In the section of this site devoted to Savoy, you can see an invoice made out to him showing that he
bought antique and modern regional jewels from Mr. Bonsaquet from Chambéry

 



 

Holy Spirit cross from Clermont-Ferrand

 


Holy Spirit pendant or cross from
Clermont-Ferrand, gold and garnets


AHoly Spirit from Clermont-Ferrand
in gold and garnets

 


Holy Spirit pendant or cross from
Clermont Ferrand, gold and garnets

 

The Holy Spirit cross of Clermont-Ferrand is set with five pear-cut garnets and garnished with three drop-shaped pendants. The pendants are sometimes smooth, sometimes striated. The Holy Spirit is sometimes suspended from an additional pear-shaped element with small garnets.

 

 

 

Holy Spirit cross from Brioude

 

 

 
Holy Spririt from Brioude,
gold and garnets, front
 
Holy Spririt from Brioude,
gold and garnets, back view
   
Holy Spririt from Brioude,
gold and garnets, front
 
Holy Spririt from Brioude,
gold and garnets, back view

 

The Holy Spirit of Brioude, also known as the Brioude cross, is similar to the Holy Spirit of Clermont Ferrand but is distinguished by its rudiments of wings and its tail, underlined by engravings. Five garnets, round or pear-shaped, are set in the body and three drop-shaped pendants are suspended. The pendants are sometimes smooth, sometimes striated.

 

 
Holy Spirit pendant from Brioude, with its rose of Velay suspension, both in gold set with garnets
also called "croix de Brioude"

 

 

 

 
Holy Spirit pendant from Brioude in gold set with garnets
also called "croix de Brioude"

 

 

 

Léon Giron (1839-1914), "La dentellière d'Espaly", Musée Crozatier, Le Puy en Velay


Léon Giron (1839-1914), "La dentellière d'Espaly", Musée Crozatier, Le Puy en Velay
necklace with Holy Spirit pendant, earrings, rings and a chatelaine on the chair

 

 

 

Flat cross from Le-Puy-en-Velay

 

 
Flat cross, gold
 

      

There is a multitude of crosses known from Le Puy-en-Velay. Most were not intended to be worn by the locals but were made to sell to the many pilgrims attracted by Notre Dame du Puy. Since the end of the nineteenth century jewelers have made re-editions of old Auvergnat jewelry, often using the old dies and with more or less skill.  The flat cross is a simple, hollow flat cross with a crucifixion on one side and from which three drop-shaped pendants are suspended. The pendants are generally smooth, sometimes striated.

 

      

 

 



 

Flat cross from Le Puy en Velay, gold

 

 

 

The embellished cross from Le Puy-en-Velay
 

 


embellished Velay cross, gold

 

The embellished cross from Le Puy-en-Velay is similar to the flat cross except that the intersections of the arms are embellished with cut-out designss and the ends of the arms by stars. Three striated or smooth teardrop pendants hang from the arms.

 

 

The menette cross

 


Menette cross, gold

 

The hollow menette cross incorporates a raised Christ surrounded by four winged angel heads, each placed on the ends of the cross in the shape of palmettes. Three tear-drop shaped pendants with or without striations are suspended from the arms. The menettes were religious women who had taken a vow of chastity, but did not live at the convent. The four cherubs represent Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (1)

 

 

The enamelled cross from Le Puy-en-Velay

 

 


Enamelled gold cross from Le Puy-en-Velay, front
 
Enamelled gold cross from Le Puy-en-Velay, back

 

The enamelled cross of Puy-en-Velay features, on one side, Christ embossed on a blue email background dotted with stars, on the other Mary on a starry blue background. The ends of the arms are shaped like palmettes. The sides of the arms and their intersections are sometimes embellished with cut-out decorations. Three tear-drop shaped or spherical pendants with or without striations are suspended from the arms.

 

 

         
enamelled cross from Le Puy-en-Velay in gold and enamel

 

 

 

 


enamelled cross from Le Puy-en-Velay with it's chain

 


 


enamelled cross from Le Puy-en-Velay, front
 
enamelled cross from Le Puy-en-Velay, back

 

 

 


enamelled cross from Le Puy-en-Velay with four enamelled plates, probably offered to mark the birth of each child
(the tear-drop pendants on the cross are missing and were perhaps removed when they became old fashioned or to balance out the design when one was lost
)

 

 


Croix du Puy en Velay en or et email, recto


Croix du Puy en Velay en or et email, verso

enamelled cross from Le Puy-en-Velay, front and back views

 

 


Croix du Puy en Velay bronze et email (recto)

Croix du Puy en Velay bronze et email (verso)
 
Croix du Puy en Velay bronze et email (recto)

Croix du Puy en Velay bronze et email (verso)

two enamelled crosses from Le Puy-en-Velay, front and back views


 

 

The Puy gemstone cross

 


cross from Le Puy-en-Velay
gold, enamel and glass (front)
     
cross from Le Puy-en-Velay
gold, enamel and glass (back)


The Le Puy-en-Velay gemstone cross is decorated on one side with sapphires from Le Puy or rhinestones. The structure of the cross is bordered by openwork scrolls and palmettes and garnished with blue enameled spots. The three pendants are flat, hexagonal and indented and are set on one side with stones and decorated on the other side by engraved and enameled designs. The other side of the cross often but not always features the Christ and is always decorated with enamel.


 


cross from Le Puy en Velay gold, enamel and glass (front)
 
cross from Le Puy en Velay gold, enamel and glass (back)

cross from Le Puy-en-Velay gold, enamel and glass

 


 


Thomas Degeorge 1786 - 1854 - Paysanne assise, 1852
with the kind permission of the museum of art Roger-Quilliot [MARQ], town of Clermont-Ferrand

 

 

 

Holy Spirit pendant from Le-Puy-en-Velay

 

 

Holy Spirit pendant from
Le Puy-en-Velay, very thin gold
enamel and garnet

 

Holy Spirit from Le Puy-en-Velay,
gold, blue enamel and garnet.
 The three drop-shaped pendants
represent the tears of Christ


Holy Spirit pendant from
Le Puy-en-Velay, very thin gold
enamel and garnet


 


 

The Holy Spirit pendant from Le Puy-en-Velay is cut out of a sheet of very thin gold, which is then engraved and enamelled.  A citrine or garnet is set in a rather high mounting at the centre.  Three tear-shaped drops are suspended from the pendant. The thin gold is very susceptible to deformation and this leads to the pendants losing their enamel ; the enamel is virtually never found intact.


 Holy Spirit necklace from Le Puy en Velay, gold, enamel and garnet
note the two different plaques - quite possibly purchased separately after the births of children


 

 

Rose pendant from Le Puy-en-Velay

 

 


  rose of Velay pendant with its chain, gold and glass

 

The Rose of Velay pendant is a traditionnal jewel from Le Puy-en-Velay, where it is still worn today.  It is set with one or two circles of stones, which are either in glass or garnets, the design of the goldwork between the stones varies between jewels but the basic design is characteristic. 

 


  rose of Velay pendant,
gold and glass


  rose of Velay pendant
gold and garnet (modern)

 
Pendentif rose du Velay,
or et verre, recto

Pendentif rose du Velay,
or et verre, verso

 

 

 

 

Holy Spirit pendant from Aurillac


 


Holy Spirit of Aurillac pendant,  silver, citrines and enamel

 

   


Aurillac Holy Spirit pendant,
gold, enamel and citrine or topaz

Holy Spirit from Aurillac,
gold, enamel and citrines or topaz
zz
Aurillac Holy Spirit pendant,
gold, enamel and citrine or topaz

Aurillac Holy Spirit pendant, 
gold, enamel and citrine or topaz

 

In and around the town of Aurillac, the Holy Spirit pendants are still worn by many women and they are sold in most jewellery shops.  They are usually set with citrines or topazs on a coloured foil base which changes the colour of the stones depending on the angle at which it is viewed.  The gold is very thin on the old Holy Spirit pendants and the enamel is thus generally found to be damaged.  It is said that extra sliders or plaques for the crosses and pendants were offered to women to mark the birth of each child.

 

 

Donades cross from Le-Puy-en-Velay

         
Donades cross from Le-Puy-en-Velay in silver, worn by the religious helpers at the Hôtel Dieu hospital in the 19th century

 

 

 

The simple gemstone cross from Auvergne

 

 

         
 Auvergne cross, gold and citrines

 

 

 

Other crosses and jewels from Auvergne

 

 


Cross from Auvergne, silver and glass

 

This cross, while seemingly Auvergnat in appearance, tends to be encountered throughout France and is always found with Parisian hallmarks.  I suspect it is a Parisian invention, made and sold between 1870 and 1920 when regional jewellery became extremely fashionable to wear in the cities.  It is of no interest to collectors.

 


Holy Spirit pendant, gold, silver and glass

 

 

         
Holy Spirit pendant from Auvergne (?) in gold and garnets

 

 


 

 
Auvergne cross in gold and glass, front view
 
Auvergne cross in gold and glass, back view
 

 

 


Auvergne cross, gold and enamel

     


Auvergne cross, gold and enamel

 

 


Auvergne cross on chains in gold with enamel

 


silver pendant from Notre Dame du Puy en Velay

 

 

 

Coiffe pins from Auvergne

 


a pair of Auvergnat coiffe pins in gold

 

 

 


a pair of Auvergnat coiffe pins in gold

 

The Auvergnat coiffe pins, with their flattened shape and their pendants, are unique to this region. The two coiffe pins in a pair are only rarely identical.

 


coiffe pin from Auvergne in gold set with a citrine

 

 

 

 

Earrings

 

                   
Three pairs of "briquet' ear pendants, popular from Auvergne to the Dauphiné region

 

                   
Three pairs of "briquet' ear pendants, popular from Auvergne to the Dauphiné region

 

 

 

Jubilee rings

 


Our Lady of Le-Puy-en-Velay

 

 

Le Puy en Velay has been an important pilgrimage site for over a thousand years, to worship Mary.  A jubilee year is proclaimed when Good Friday falls on the same day as Ascension, which happens roughly every eleven years however there can be a gap of over a hundred years.  A jubilee was held in 2005, the last one was celebrated in April 2016 and the next one will occur in 2157!  The jubilee, also known as a Grand Pardon, offers the opportunity for the absolution of sins too serious to be absolved in a normal confession.  There is consequently a large influx of pilgrims (sinners?) during the jubilee and in the past many of them bought a jubilee ring as a souvenir of their visit.

 


jubilee ring


jubilee ring
 
jubilee ring

jubilee ring, silver

 

The history of rings from Le Puy en Velay is certainly very old: in the last will and testament of Count Eude of Nevers dated 1266, one finds mention of "XI petiz eniaus dou Pui" (eleven small rings from Puy). (3)  

"Rings are one of the most curious parts of the peasant jewels of the Velay, because they have kept their age-old character. Today, as in the past, they are the symbol of the attachment to the worship of the Black Madonna of Puy. Generally in gold, very rarely in silver, they are characterised by a very narrow ring connecting to an enameled oval on which is represented the Madonna with or without a niche in a rather crude schematisation. 

The silversmith also represented other religious symbols that could satisfy all the fancies of the buyer: crucifix, monstrance, chalice, chapel, pascal lamb, etc. The dimensions, the shapes, the ornamentation, the thickness vary as well as the colour of the enamel; we have blue, red, green and white." (1)

 

 


jubilee ring


jubilee ring
 
jubilee ring

jubilee ring

 

 

 


jubilee ring in silver


jubilee ring in silver
 
jubilee ring in silver

jubilee ring in silver

 

 


jubilee ring in silver

 

 


chalice ring in enamelled gold


enamelled Pansy ring
 


 chalice ring in enamelled gold


 

 

 

 

 

'Slave' necklaces

 

The "esclavage" or slave necklaces from Auvergne tend to have rectangular plates, often with openwork and decorated with filigree, quite different from those of Normandy or Burgundy where oval plates tend to predominate.  The slave necklaces from Auvergne can also be distinguished by the two rigide swags that are generally suspended from the central plate.


esclavage (slave) necklace from Auvergne region, gold

 

 


esclavage (slave) necklace from Auvergne region, gold

 

 


esclavage (slave) necklace, gold

 

 

 

The 'rangs d'or' necklace

 

 


The "lacemaker of Espaly" painted by Leon Giron (1839-1914), is shown wearing a "rang d’or" from which is suspended her cross.

 

A distinctive jewel of the Auvergne region is the sumptuous rang d’or, a necklace consisting of up to a dozen flat-link chains attached to a large engraved and often enamelled clasp worn at the throat.  The chains were also worn as bracelets, however in both cases the finances of the wearer didn’t always permit every hole in the catch to be fitted with a chain – one often finds these catches with one chain for every two or even one for every three holes. One rarely finds any rangs d’or intact today; the gold chains were almost always dismantled and assembled to make bracelets and long necklaces with which to attach watches when the price of these arrived within the reach of the population.  The less extravagent versions of these necklaces with between three and five chains were popular in the Lyonnais, southern Burgundy and northern Dauphiné regions.

 

 

 

 


 "rang d'or" necklace worn in Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain department)

 

 

 


 "rang d'or" necklace in gold

 

 

 

         
 "rang d'or" necklace in gold and enamel


bracelet "rang d'or" in gold

 

 

                          
distinctive enamelled "rang d'or" necklace or bracelet catches from Auvergne

 

 

 

 

Necklace catches from Auvergne        

 

   


necklace from Auvergne with its distinctive catch and flat link chain

   

 

 

         
the two main types of necklace catches from Auvergne (enlarged 200%)

 

The chain clasps or catches from Auvergne are quite different from those of other regions.  They are roughly lozenge shaped, flattened in the middle and one of the two types illustrated here is generally enamelled while the other is not.

 


long chain with flat links typical of the Auvergne region - 1798-1809

 

 


 

Serre-malice

 

Made of brass and brightly polished, the serre-malice is a head-band used to maintain the black cloth used as a coiffe by women until the years 1860-1870 on the plateau of Artense (La tour d'Auvergne) and as far as Aurillac since it was the copper smiths of this city who made it without any welding. In 1834 Jean-Baptiste Bouillet wrote: "We often see at our fairs and our markets women wearing a piece of black cloth, several times folded, and arranged so as to form a point on the back. restrained by an assembly of brass threads, at least one inch in width, acting like a spring and coming to rest on each side of the head, and by a kind of epigrammatic spirit, this ornament is given in the country the name of sara maliça, or “squeeze mischief”.  The women of the Artense seldom move away from Auvergne, so their costume, especially their hairstyle, is unknown outside of this province." (2)

 


"serre-malice" head-band in brass - photo Musée de la coiffe à Blesle

 

 


"serre-malice" head-band in brass - photo Musée régional d'Auvergne in Riom

 

 

 


brass head-band known as"serre-malice"

 

 

 

Auvergne clasps or buckles

 

The silver buckles made in Cantal in the XIX century are of a style unique to this region; a very openwork design with multiple flowers and fastening loops very visible but with a rather basic finish without any work of chiseling or finishing.  There is a buckle in the collection of the Ethnographic Museum of the Donjon in Niort somewhat similar in decoration but with a hallmark from Saintes 1819-1838. Inv. 958-1-8.  Noel Thiollier in his book "The goldsmiths of Puy-Notre-Dame", (5), was similarly unimpressed with the summry workmanship of these buckles - "It is intentionally that I do not speak of the belt buckles or the clips intended to suspend the scissors that were manufactured in large numbers in Le Puy.  Some of them bear the image of the Virgin of Le Puy.  The work is too crude for us to consider them the work of silversmiths, they are more like the work of a foundry."

 

 

    
silver clasp from Auvergne, 18th century

 

 


silver clasp from Auvergne, 18th century

 

 

 

         
silver clasp from Auvergne, 19th century

 

 


silver clasp from the Cantal region

 

 

 

 
silver clasp from Auvergne, 19th century

 

 

 

    
silver clasp from Auvergne, 19th century      

 


 


silver clasp from Auvergne, 19th century

 

 

         
silver clasp from Auvergne, 19th century 

 

 

 

                             
silver clasp from Auvergne, 19th century

 

 

 

 


factory workers polishing semi-precious stones in Royat-les-Bains, Auvergne - postcard
click on the photos to see them in high definition

 

 


factory workers polishing semi-precious stones in Royat-les-Bains, Auvergne - postcard

note the rather uncomfortable position used by the polishers, knife grinders used the same technique in the past
click on the photos to see them in high definition

 


French folk costumes from the Auvergne region as seen by Racinet in "Le Costume Historique, 1888"

click on the photos to see them in high resolution!

 

 


traditional mountain folk dress from Auvergne

 

 

 


regional costume from Auvergne

 

 

bijoux régionaux - bijou régional


regional costume from Auvergne - Le Mont Doré

 

 

bijoux régionaux - bijou régional


Ancien and rich regional costume from Auvergne

 

 

bijoux régionaux - bijou régional


Lace-maker from Auvergne - she's wearing a Rose du Velay pendant

 

 

bijoux régionaux - bijou régional


lace-maker from Auvergne

 

 

bijoux régionaux - bijou régional


woman from Royat - Auvergne

 

 

bijoux régionaux - bijou régional


woman from Latour, Auvergne, hand-spinning wool and wearing a Serre Malice

 

 

French regional jewellery - Auvergne