A Little Paris In Boston

By Karrissa Ranken

Now it’s not every week you would find me at a museum on a Saturday morning. I decided to head to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) on a crisp, fall day, looking for something different to do – outside the box. The MFA is located on 465 Huntington Ave. in Boston. You can easily take the Green Line right by our campus to the MFA stop. My friend and I went to see the René Lalique Jewelry showcase. Who is René Lalique? René Jules Lalique was a French artist, master designer of glass, and jeweler in the Art Nouveau period of the early twentieth century.

His display in the museum was overwhelmingly elegant. One Lasell College professor got to experience Lalique’s work firsthand in Paris: In 2006, Fashion Department Chair Mary Ruppert-Stroescu traveled to France, where she viewed René Lalique’s exquisite work in the Luxembourg Palace. “The showcase in Paris was larger. It’s really significant that the museum in Boston chose to acknowledge the time period of the Art Nouveau,” Ruppert-Stroescu says.

Among the tasteful pieces, pearls were noticed in almost every design. “We are seeing the pearl trend resurface,” Professor Ruppert-Stroescu states. Along with diamonds, pearls will always be a girl’s best friend. When visiting this section in the museum, you will notice the influence of flowers in Lalique’s jewelry. There were hair combs with ivy leaves and a belt buckle with lily pads.

Tiffany & Co. tried to imitate the complementary orchid brooch flower pins that I saw. This delicate flower pin (shown right) was handmade with gold enamel, diamonds, three pearls, and the subtle color of seafoam green. Lalique’s long neck chains were popular in the early twentieth century and are still a part of our outfits in the twenty-first century. There was an interesting orange crab-shaped necklace set with two pearls representing the eyes. I was drawn to the dog collar necklaces, which resemble modern chunky bangle bracelets. These necklaces were shaped as beautiful transparent flowers. Years ago, they were worn tightly around a women’s neck.

One hundred years ago, fashionistas believed eyeglasses were not very flattering. I saw original glass opticals that women would hold in their hands when they needed to read something. Now fashion-conscious ladies live for sexy glasses and buy them regardless of the need for a prescription. Some pendants resembled a church window. “That time period was really special in all aspects,” states Professor Ruppert-Stroescu, who believes the influence of Lalique’s unforgettable artwork is not only in our jewelry today, but also in home decorating and furniture.

Images Courtesy of the Boston MFA

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