Art Kaleidoscope

Between art and craft

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus snail, c. 1630, German, Nuremberg

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces. Snail, c. 1630, German, Nuremberg

The Golden Ratio is widely used in art, architecture and religious symbols. Great artists have used the golden ratio in their paintings. Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed, has the shape of a nautilus shell. Scientists came to the conclusion that people find beautiful work of art, buildings and even a person who meets the proportions of the golden Ratio. Nautilus shell symbolizes The Golden Ratio. The proportion of golden section is known as the phi number – 1.61803 … to infinity number after the decimal point – the “key to the physics of the cosmos” (Plato).

A large mother-of-pearl powder horn, India, 17th-18th century

A large mother-of-pearl powder horn, India, 17th-18th century

Jewelers of Middle Ages used the Nautilus shell in the manufacture of cups. Cup is not just dishes for water or wine – it is deeply symbolic vessel. The base symbolizes the earth, the leg supporting the cup, symbolize the house. The edge of the cup – a crown, and the lid, the roof of the house, completes the cup. Shape of Cup, strict and solemn, emphasizes its special role on the banquet table. This important thing was made of gold, silver, crystal, ceramics, and the XVII century – of glass.

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces – German silver cup circa 1715

Mother of pearl charms and attracts … Since ancient times, pearl was endowed with healing power from all diseases, the ability to enhance human abilities in marriage, protection from the evil eye and spoilage, beneficial effects on the general state of a person. In ancient Egypt, pearl was used for making necklaces, bracelets, all kinds of vessels, because of its beauty and ease in handling. In ancient Rome, mother of pearl was a symbol of power and wisdom, pearl brings happiness and reveals feminine beauty.

Continental silver mounted Nautilus shell cup, unmarked, 20th century

Continental silver mounted Nautilus shell cup, unmarked, 20th century

Dutch, and later German artists, followed by Chinese masters appreciated the decorative possibilities of large, bulk-shell clam-boat Nautilus Pompilius, swimming in the warm ocean waters. The success of Europeans in the whole decoration of shells explained considerable experience with mother of pearl, from which cut and engraved plaques, inserts for weapons and furniture. Set in gold and silver, decorated with gems beautiful exotic shellfish spiral twisted curls and intricate design turned into precious masterpieces of representative dishes: luxury Nautilus cups. It was believed that the shell, as well as other products of the sea, endowed with mysterious cleaning properties. In Nautilus-Cup poison loses its force, and the vessel walls change color and fade.

Dragon Vessel Nautilus cup

Dragon Vessel Nautilus cup

But before creating a magical beauty of the cup, it was necessary to free the shellfish from the layers and dirt. European craftsmen placed acid in the shell for 10 days and then removed the upper horny layer. To give the shell a soft shine, it was necessary to polish and rinse with alkaline water. Illuminated, thin pearl shells charmingly gleamed with iridescent hues of pink, blue, yellow in unusually rich range of colors. Paying tribute to the natural perfection of a small shell, a master could keep the outer projecting portion of the navel, leave it untouched and as open as possible. Often shell was decorated with relief or openwork carving, used wax and acid. After processing, the already fragile wall becomes thin as a sheet of paper, so samples with openwork carving are scarce in museum collection. The upper part of the mouth of the shell, internal partitions and chambers were decorated with carved or engraved floral ornament. Decorating nautilus, jewelers often used stories of ancient mythology associated with the sea.

German silver figural nautilus cup, Storck & Sinsheimer, Hanau,circa 1900

German silver figurative nautilus cup, circa 1900

gilt-metal mounted nautilus cup

gilt-metal mounted nautilus cup

Gilt-metal mounted nautilus shell cup 17 19th century

Gilt-metal mounted nautilus shell cup 17 19th century

Jan Davidszoon de Heem Still Life with Lobster and Nautilus Cup

Jan Davidszoon de Heem Still Life with Lobster and Nautilus Cup

large mother-of-pearl powder horn, India, 17th-18th century

large mother-of-pearl powder horn, India, 17th-18th century

Maerten Boelema de Stomme Still Life with a Nautilus Cup

Maerten Boelema de Stomme Still Life with a Nautilus Cup

Martin Johnson Heade

Martin Johnson Heade

Miriam Escofet Nautilus cup

Miriam Escofet Nautilus cup

Nautilus cup in the form of a chicken Jamnitzer Wenzel

Nautilus cup in the form of a chicken Jamnitzer Wenzel

Nautilus cup Swan

Nautilus cup Swan

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus cup

Nautilus cup

Nikolaus Schmidt, Nautilus cup, circa 1600 (detail)

Nikolaus Schmidt, Nautilus cup, circa 1600 (detail)

Royal Worcester porcelain nautilus shell center piece dated 1876

Royal Worcester porcelain nautilus shell center piece dated 1876

Russian, Fabergé workshop carved smoky quartz gold and enamel cup and cover. Jeweler Michael Perchin, St. Petersburg

Russian, Fabergé workshop carved smoky quartz gold and enamel cup and cover. Jeweler Michael Perchin, St. Petersburg

silvered and gilt-metal mounted nautilus cup, circa 1870

silvered and gilt-metal mounted nautilus cup, circa 1870

Silvered and gilt-metal mounted nautilus cup. Dingeldein & Sohn of Hanau

Silvered and gilt-metal mounted nautilus cup. Dingeldein & Sohn of Hanau

Still Life with Nautilus Cup, Fruit, Nuts and Wine. Flemish painter Osias Beert the elder c.1580–1624

Still Life with Nautilus Cup, Fruit, Nuts and Wine. Flemish painter Osias Beert the elder c.1580–1624

Still-Life with Nautilus Cup, closeup

Still-Life with Nautilus Cup, closeup

Still-Life with Nautilus Cup. Dutch painter Marten Boelema de Stomme (1611 - 1664). Hallwyl Museum,Stockholm

Still-Life with Nautilus Cup. Dutch painter Marten Boelema de Stomme (1611 – 1664). Hallwyl Museum,Stockholm

The Nautilus cup of the 17th century, one of two from the Royal Collection. Purchased by George IV, detail

The Nautilus cup of the 17th century, one of two from the Royal Collection. Purchased by George IV, detail

Nautilus cup

Nautilus cup

Unknown goldsmith, Netherlandish Nautilus cup 1592 Silver gilt

Unknown goldsmith, Netherlandish Nautilus cup 1592 Silver gilt

Vessels in the form of herons end of the 16th century Rhinestone Art - History Museum Vienna Italy

Vessels in the form of herons end of the 16th century Rhinestone Art – History Museum Vienna Italy

Willem Claesz Heda Still Life with Nautilus Cup

Willem Claesz Heda Still Life with Nautilus Cup

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

Nautilus jewelry-art masterpieces

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