The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tiffany, Hair Ornament
Met curator Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen on transience in Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Hair Ornament, c. 1904.
View this work on metmuseum.org.
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- I thought black opals were the eye gems... they look like it... where are black opals on its back?(3 votes)
- Good question. Black opals are called black because they have a dark, or black, ground -- but they also contain other colors, often blues and greens. (You can do a Google Image search for black opals to see their wide range of amazing colors.)
Watch this video at1:09-- the abdomen of the dragonfly is set with 8 black opals -- which are varying shades of blue.(5 votes)
- Why do people hate dandelions? I have never thought of them as a "noxious weed," but rather as a pretty yellow flower, then a fun puff of fluff. To top it off, the leaves are delicious! Altogether much more interesting than plain ol' grass!(4 votes)
- who was the creator of this gem incrusted dragon fly?(1 vote)
- This is a stunning piece, are there other items that were comissioned by her to match it or is it designed to be a one off stand out piece?(1 vote)
Louis Comfort Tiffany, extraordinary artist that I’ve spent virtually my entire career studying. And yet, just a little over a decade ago, I saw this hair ornament for the first time, and nearly fainted. Tiffany in microcosm in a sense. A monumental work, yet it’s only just a little over three inches high. Embodying so much of what this artist was all about: his muse nature, and nature in its most natural state. Captures this tiny, tiny, tiny moment-- dragonfly just lands on something for an instant and then is off again--made of materials that are the embodiment of solidity. The dragonflies are gold encrusted with gems. Wonderful bulging eyes composed of these shimmering iridescent opals. And on the head little tiny red rubies. The black opals lined up on the back highlighted with these tiny, tiny green demantoid garnets, and you can almost sense the shimmering of the wings of the dragonflies. And then they’re sitting on these dandelion puffs--the most noxious weed that creeps into all of our yards, but he sees beauty. Little bits of white opal on this network that contains it; one of these dandelion puffs has actually been partially blown away. I think he looked at this with special eyes and those eyes help transform the way we look at nature. This hair ornament was made for Louisine Havemeyer, the great avant-garde collector of French modern painting. She’s quoted as saying when someone asked her, “Wouldn’t you rather have a string of pearls than a picture?” And she responded, “No. I would far rather have something made by a man, than something made by an oyster.” And I think when she did acquire a piece of jewelry for herself, she had Tiffany design for her a total and complete work of art.