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Araiso U Brooch, 2007

This is a brooch. It was made by Junichi Hakose and Van Cleef and Arpels. It is dated 2007 and we acquired it in 2011. Its medium is raised white gold, gold beads, egg shell lacquer on mother-of-pearl support on white gold, round-cut diamonds. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Jewelry design is a significant part of the museum’s decorative arts collection. Historically, the collection has focused on design elements that have sometimes included precious stones but more often are of stylistic interest. Jewelry acquisitions from the late 20th and early 21st century have tended to feature the work of studio designers but, as the museum’s 2011 exhibition, Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels illustrated, there are innovative designs in the world of high jewelry as well.
The butterfly has been a recurring motif for Van Cleef & Arpels, with designs ranging from realistic renderings to fanciful creatures in turquoise and rubies from the 1940s. The production of this brooch includes a combination of the art of working in gold and diamonds combined with Japanese lacquering techniques. The butterfly form is created in gold with a mother-of-pearl base in the Van Cleef & Arpels workshops in France. The pieces are then sent to Japan where the lacquering is created according to specific designs inspired by Japanese symbolism. Traditional design sources are rendered with a modern eye and enhanced with the use of materials, such as eggshell, worked into the lacquer for innovative finishes.
This brooch represents a combination of the craftsmanship associated with the decorative arts and high jewelry as well as the use of high jewelry’s precious materials. Examples of Japanese lacquering techniques can be found elsewhere in the museum’s collection, such as with inro, flattened cylindrical boxes with compartments that often held medicine.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Butterflies are free to let ones spirits fly.

It is credited Gift of Van Cleef and Arpels.

Its dimensions are

L x W x D: 4.1 x 5 x 0.5 cm (1 5/8 x 1 15/16 x 3/16 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamped on reverse of clip: "VCA 750 / CL 42401" (serial number) On reverse, lower left wing, Japanese cypher(?) in red trapesoidal lozenge

Cite this object as

Araiso U Brooch, 2007; Made by Junichi Hakose (Japanese, born 1955); Japan; raised white gold, gold beads, egg shell lacquer on mother-of-pearl support on white gold, round-cut diamonds; L x W x D: 4.1 x 5 x 0.5 cm (1 5/8 x 1 15/16 x 3/16 in.); 2011-42-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Araiso U Brooch, 2007 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=9 February 2016 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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