In Chinese, the word ‘fu’ for bat is a homophone for happiness while in Japanese the bat has the same character as luck.
Bats began appearing in western jewellery design as part of the 19th century craze for chinoiserie. The fashion reached its peak in the Art Nouveau movement. René Lalique decorated his showcase at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 with bats.
This late Victorian diamond and ruby brooch proved hugely popular at the Jewellery and Watches sale held by Lawrences (25% buyer’s premium) of Crewkerne on July 7. Estimated at a lowly £250-350, it attracted multiple phone bidders and raced away to bring £16,000.