Lalique’s dragonflies


Dragonfly woman corsage ornament (1897–1898).
Gold, enamel, chrysoprase, moonstones, and diamonds.

Seeing as dragonflies emerged as a theme this week I can’t resist mentioning my favourite of all, this bizarre confection by glass artist and jeweller René Lalique (1860–1945), a dragonfly with female torso and gryphon claws. This was owned by wealthy Armenian collector Calouste Gulbenkian (in whose museum it now resides) and was worn once by Sarah Bernhardt. You can barely tell from this picture but the delicate gold wings are hinged at several points so they wouldn’t be obtrusive for the wearer.


The Lalique company made more glassware than they did jewellery and these included a range of unique automobile mascots whose pedestrian-puncturing potential saw them banished to museum cabinets as road safety laws evolved. The dragonfly design was an especially splendid example, being placed above a multicoloured disc lit from beneath which rotated in accordance with the speed of the car. The faster the car travelled, the faster the colours changed.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Lucien Gaillard
Wesley Fleming’s glass insects
The glass menagerie

12 thoughts on “Lalique’s dragonflies”

  1. That dragonfly has long been a favourite of mine.
    I remember seing some other very nice specimen of insects as jewelry in the V&A many years ago. I can’t remember if it was a temporary exhibition or permanent collections though.

  2. This is a subject I’ll return to, I’m sure. Butterflies and beetles suit themselves to the jewel treatment, don’t they? I’ve got a book of extraordinary designs by Béla-Gyula Krieger but most of those seemed to have remained as sketches.

  3. hi…
    please send me more dragonfly animation…
    i’m very very like this
    thank you

  4. Laique produced two versions of the dragonfly car mascot, of which the larger version has recently been re-introduced as a paperweight in christal / verre presse papier. If you are interested to see these and all of Rene Lalique’s car mascots & paperweights please log onto the club website:

    Thank you from G.G. Weiner hons.

  5. I have truly fallen in love! I too am now madly saving to have this amazingly beautiful piece tattooed onto my back. I was wondering if Cherri whom made comments on the 13.11.10 wouldn’t mind contacting me pls?? Would love to compare notes and see how her piece turned out. thank u peace =)

  6. I love this peice, so beautiful. dragonflies have always been my favorite. All the different colors, how they fly.

  7. I have to do a long essay about the Dragonfly woman corsage ornament for school and Iam doing well so far. It`s a lovely piece of jewllery and how all the colours combine with each other! Beautiful!!

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