I doubt that Lalique used bone. Ivory was in style.
As soon as I sent that post, I realized I had probably misspoken
there - most of the carved faces featured in Lalique jewelry were
carved, as Richard pointed out, from ivory rather than bone. It’s
mostly a semantic difference (I mean, we’re talking about elephant
teeth when you get right down to it), but also a perceptive one. I
have seen several books on Lalique with gross errors made in terms of
the identification of materials and design elements alike, so the
fire opal/carnelian mix-up doesn’t surprise me; chrysoprase
identified as “jade” is a common one too. I’ve many times seen
yellow-jacket wasps in Lalique pieces called “bees,” an error that
bothers entomologists to no end.
(Lalique jewelry is some of the most entomologically accurate ever
made, by the way - no ambiguous hymentopterans there!
I have had the privilege of seeing a few pieces of Lalique jewelry in
person during a recent trip to Berlin. Yes, it is bigger in person
than one would imagine – in particular, the famous
dragonfly-morphing-into-or-devouring-a-woman brooch is gigantic: 9
1/2" x 10 1/2"!
So, anyway, getting back to the core idea of the thread, the gist of
the post I made was that if Lalique (whose work I guess most jewelers
still admire) used combinations of “cheap” materials like cast glass
and horn in combination with gold and “fine” stones such as diamonds,
then the rest of us should not be afraid to do so either.
All the best,