imagine my delight upon learning about this magnificent almost pure gold boot charm through Lucyanne Robinson, one of the dealers who will be exhibiting her exceptional wares at the upcoming Spring Fever Antiques and Design
Show and Sale, produced by New England Antique Shows.
This tiny treasure truly is the best of both worlds, and its size defies the great history and legacy behind the piece. The charm is 2" high, 2" long, and 3/4" wide at the heel. It is made from 22 carat yellow gold (92% gold and 8% silver-copper) and weighs 67.3 grams, or about 2 1/3 ounces! The detail work on the piece is truly exceptional. Check out the perfectly proportioned eyelets and heels; the nails on the soles; and the way the gold has been wrinkled to look like leather. Now that's fancy footwork!
This one a kind piece was hand forged in France in 1974 by Jean-Marie Mazard and his daughter-in-law Jacline, who together were the design team behind the world famous Jean Mahie design studio. The company's name is taken from a child’s attempt to pronounce “Jean-Marie.” This highly realistic boot charm is distinct and exceptional among Jean Mahie pieces, departing from the artists’ usual more freeform, fluid approach. For comparison, the pendant pictured to the left is truly representative of the "typical" Jean Mahie style. From the collector's perspective, some of the things that make the boot charm so interesting are its design, period of production, and clear identification on the sole. This rarity is pictured and referenced in the book Jean Mahie the Artists and Their Work 25 Years of Sculpture, published by the Meriden-Stinehour Press in 1987.
Fast forward a few years, Jean-Marie and Jacline's designs were noticed by retail luxury tycoon Stanley Marcus and his director of fine jewelry, Dudley Ramsden. Eventually the
line was brought to the United States under an exclusive contract to the upscale Neiman-Marcus store chain. In reference to Jean Mahie designs, Stanley Marcus once wrote: "This jewelry is not for the timid." By the late 1970s, the artists immigrated to the US and their jewelry was, and continues to be, produced piece by piece here in the US.
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