Set of four French gold and ruby buttons, c.1880, thought to be the work of Paul Robin, £3400 at Lyon & Turnbull.

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They sold for £3400 at Lyon & Turnbull (26% buyer’s premium) in London on October 11.

The owl, along with the horseshoe and the serpent, was a favourite motif and appeared in a variety of different forms: from earrings to brooches, through bracelets, cufflinks and pins, according to the archives of the Maison, kept at the National Museum of Decorative Arts.

A larger brooch with diamond eyes and the corresponding drawing are illustrated in French Jewelry of the Nineteenth Century by Henri Vever, translated by Katherine Purcell.

Paul Robin was the son of the Paris jeweller Jean-Paul Robin and learned drawing from Eugene Julienne, one of the great designers of his time. Paul joined his brother Edouard in the company Robin Frères from 1869-80 but filed his own hallmark in 1880.