Gold, silver, diamond, ruby
Property of Shai Bandmann and Ronald Ooi
This piece dates from the early days of René Lalique's career, when - faithful to the traditional codes of the era - he was still using precious gemstones. A little later on he began using new materials that were better suited to his artistic ideas, and which is why Emile Gallé claimed Lalique to be "the inventor of modern jewellery".
According to Henri Vever, a contemporary of Lalique's in the jewellery world, he presented the preliminary design of Vol d'hirondelles to Boucheron, but the company chose not to produce it. René Lalique had only recently set up his own workshop, and decided to manufacture the ornament himself. Boucheron was impressed by the result, and purchased the model to sell in its own stores, as did another major jeweller, Chaumet.
By the way: the swallows could also be worn separately, as a hair or belt ornament.