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For sale is this rare art nouveau plaque de cou (choker or dog collar) by Andre Kauffer.  The choker is silver gilt, with French assay marks and Kauffer’s maker’s mark.  The plique a jour enamel is original and perfect and depicts the thorns and leaves of the Acacia tree. I have shown two images of the front of the choker that capture the cool green colour of the enamel and strong gold gilding separately (flash photography makes the gilding look silver).

There is something exceptional about the design of this piece. The influence of the art nouveau is very clear, but this piece has a stylization, crispness and modernity that is unusual in most French jewellery of the period.

The depiction of Acacia foliage is also highly unusual and quite probably highly symbolic.  According to the Hebrew Bible Acacia tree wood was used to make the Ark of the Covenant and parts of the Tabernacle.  The tree has taken on great symbolism in many cultures, typically symbolizing renewal, fortitude and pureness. In the Jewish culture, in the past, it was common to plant an Acacia branch at the head of a person’s grave to mark it, which came to symbolize these qualities and also remembrance.  The black enamel surround of this piece does make me wonder if that is this choker’s symbolism, transformed as jewellery. Undoubtedly in the same vein, in Freemasonry, the Acacia tree is a symbol of the immortality of the human soul.

Andre Kauffer was a highly regarded Nancy jeweller.  This choker is quite renowned, with an identical example (with slightly darker green enamel) previously with Tadema, and reproduced heavily in jewellery literature as listed below:

Beatriz Chadour-Sampson & Sonya Newell-Smith, “Tadema Gallery London Jewellery from the 1860s to 1960s”, p. 109
Nancy N. Schiffer, “Silver Jewelry Designs”, 1996, Illustrated p. 109.
Victor Arwas, “Art Nouveau, The French Aesthetic”, 2002, illustrated p. 352.
Martin, Étienne. “Bijoux Art Nouveau”, Nancy 1890-1920, Éditions du Quotidien, Strasbourg, 2015, page 96

The plaque de cou is designed to be worn on a cloth (I would suggest velvet) choker and one can be made to go with this piece on purchase.

Price: £1,000–£5,000

Maker: Andre Kauffer

Designer: Andre Kauffer

Date: c. 1905

Marks: AK, french assay mark

Material: Sterling silver gilt, enamel

Condition: Excellent

Size: 6.7 cm x 4.0 cm

Weight: 1.1 oz, 31 grams



Stock number

A921
Open by appointment and at fairs

The BADA Standard

  • Since 1918, BADA has been the leading association for the antiques and fine art trade
  • Members are elected for their knowledge, integrity and quality of stock
  • Our clients are protected by BADA’s code of conduct
  • Our dealers’ membership is reviewed and renewed annually
  • Bada.org is a non-profit site: clients deal directly with members and they pay no hidden fees
Click here for more information on the BADA Standard