This boot was made for talkin…

April 11th, 2010 by
I can’t be the only person who feels you can never have enough shoes OR enough bling! After all, the well-heeled Marilyn Monroe convinced the world that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” with just a few simple lyrics! So imagine my delight upon learning about this magnificent almost pure gold boot charm through Lucyanne Robinson, one of the dealers who will be exhibiting her exceptional wares at the upcoming Spring Fever Antiques and Design Show and Sale, produced by New England Antique Shows.

This tiny treasure truly is the best of both worlds, and its size defies the great history and legacy behind the piece. The charm is 2″ high, 2″ long, and 3/4″ wide at the heel.  It is made from 22 carat yellow gold (92% gold and 8% silver-copper) and weighs 67.3 grams, or about 2 1/3 ounces!  The detail work on the piece is truly exceptional.  Check out the perfectly proportioned eyelets and heels; the nails on the soles; and the way the gold has been wrinkled to look like leather.  Now that’s fancy footwork!
So besides its design and quality, what makes this boot charm so, well… charming? This one a kind piece was hand forged in France in 1974 by Jean-Marie Mazard and his daughter-in-law Jacline, who together were the design team behind the world famous Jean Mahie design studio. The company’s name is taken from a child’s attempt to pronounce “Jean-Marie.” This highly realistic boot charm is distinct and exceptional among Jean Mahie pieces, departing from the artists’ usual more freeform, fluid approach.  For comparison, the pendant pictured to the left is truly representative of the “typical” Jean Mahie style.  From the collector’s perspective, some of the things that make the boot charm so interesting are its design, period of production, and clear identification on the sole. This rarity is pictured and referenced in the book Jean Mahie the Artists and Their Work 25 Years of Sculpture, published by the Meriden-Stinehour Press in 1987.

Jean Mahie has been a global influence in the jewelry and design industries since the late 1960′s. The principals got their big break when their creations were exhibited at both Van Cleef and Arpels and Cartier in Paris. The work was extremely well received; so much so that it influenced the artistic direction at both major jewelers.  A great example of this is the hand hammered cuffs that Van Cleef and Arpels still shows on its web site and which First Lady Jackie Kennedy owned. A photo of Jackie and her Jean Mahie inspired VCA bracelet is featured above on the left.

Fast forward a few years, Jean-Marie and Jacline’s designs were noticed by retail luxury tycoon Stanley Marcus and his director of fine jewelry, Dudley Ramsden. Eventually the line was brought to the United States under an exclusive contract to the upscale Neiman-Marcus store chain. In reference to Jean Mahie designs, Stanley Marcus once wrote: “This jewelry is not for the timid.” By the late 1970s, the artists immigrated to the US and their jewelry was, and continues to be, produced piece by piece here in the US.


Today, Jean Mahie is still designing and producing unique, one of a kind jewelry creations which are coveted by collectors globally. The torch has been passed to the next generations; the company’s current collaborators are Jacline and her son. Together they continue to make hand forged pieces and describe themselves with the old gold smithing term “forgerons d’or”; clearly a “charming” name for their “gold standard” talent in jewelry design and craftsmanship.
I would like to thank Lucyanne Robinson for walking me through the details of this amazing Jean Mahie boot charm. Lucyanne specializes in exceptional and inspired jewelry. Her offerings span the 19th and 20th centuries, across the main categories of antique, vintage couture, and artisans’ one-of-a-kind works. The collection is available through select antiques shows around the U.S. For more information about this piece, please contact Lucyanne at lucyrob@swbell.net.
What is your very favorite antiquing, vintage, or design find? Let’s talk! Click here to learn more.
Learn more about New England Antique Shows and their upcoming events by clicking here!