While the name Rene Lalique is recognized in most all inner circles of vintage dealers who delve into antique and vintage jewelry or early vases and perfume bottles – many do not know that one of Lalique’s most collectible items always maintaining (if not increasing in its value year after year) is his notorious “car mascots” or what we would call “hood ornaments”.
Here is a portrait taken of Rene Lalique in 1903:
Lalique studied art since the age of 12 and his father was a well known jewelry dealer. Starting in 1886 Lalique began making fine jewelry and started with a line of “Art Nouveau jewellery” which were noted by actresses of the day and he quickly became very sought after for fine jewelry. He wanted to expand his knowledge though and by the 1890’s was experimenting with glass. He took time perfecting a keen eye on dainty perfume bottles and after an exhibition in 1900 in Paris his perfume bottles couldn’t stay on his shelves. He opened additional workspace and by 1907 was hired by Coty to make his bottles as well as powder boxes. He closed for a short time during World War I but was reopened again by 1918 and continued his experiments with glass up through the 1920’s when he began making a unique line of what he named “car mascots”.
Lalique took great pride in his work and used the finest quality of materials in all of his work which as any dealer would tell you makes his workmanship always come into the secondhand market at a high dollar. He always used the best materials and that included his use of certain chemical processes in his brief but jaw-dropping line of hood ornaments as well.
His first car mascot was made in 1928 and was properly named “The 5 Prancing Horses” some people call it simply, “The 5 Horses” and it is shown here:
He enjoyed making his workmanship based off of things in nature for this unique line of his glass work and often looks to the skies for inspiration as he made several bird types. Here’s a few:
The one below here was properly named “Faucon” meaning “falcon” and was made in approximate 1930.
Notice that amethyst purple hue to it? That increases it’s value. When the ornaments came off the production line they were clearly completely translucent, free of color, and completely see through. This was due to a reaction from the sunlight exposed to the chemicals Lalique used in its manipulation of chemicals through his glass experiments. This one was featured in an episode of Antique’s Roadshow recently. Let’s take a look at the evaluation of this rare piece of Lalique. You can watch the clip by clicking below:
In total, Rene Lalique made 29 original car mascots from the late 1920’s to the mid 1930’s. He died in 1945 but his company continued on being operated by his son Mark, and later his grand daughter Marie Claire.
Rene Lalique is notably one of the most notorious glass makers ever known. We at Got Vintage? hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit more about this amazing artist’s niche market of hood ornaments.
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