An enamel and plique-à-jour brooch by Catalan modernest jeweler Masriera Y Carrera will hit the auction block on March 18th at the Sotheby's Fine Jewels sale in London. The house of Masriera first opened in Barcelona in 1839, where it remains today making it one of the oldest jewelers in Europe. Most associate Lalique as the master of Art Nouveau jewelry, but Masriera was equally influential in the movement. It is the enamel and plique-à-jour work of this brooch that make it special, two difficult jewelry techniques that Masriera mastered.
Like most of Europe's great jewelry houses, Masriera was a multigenerational family business. It was the work of Lluis Masriera (3rd generation) that earned great international accolades for the firm during the Art Nouveau movement. After studying enameling in Geneva in 1886, Lluis Masriera became a master enameler and his techniques became world renowned, including the 1st class medal at the Salon des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1910 among many, many other awards. In 1915 the Masriera family partnered with the Carreras, another prominent goldsmith family. This was a beneficial partnership which allowed the firm to complete every step of the jewelry making process, from start to finish, in house. In 1985 the firm partnered with Bagués, another established house started in 1917, to form Bagués Y Masriera which how it remains today. As masters of Art Nouveau jewelry, they continue to make jewelry using the same enamel and plique-à-jour techniques of the early 20th century.