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*** Bona Fide Playing Cards ***

In a previous review (link), I've introduced designer Karin Yan and the rest of her team from Bona Fide Playing Cards. Bona Fide is Latin for "in good faith", and refers to that which is genuine, real, and sincere. In Karin's own words, "that's exactly what this project intends to be: a genuine union between the genuine love for art in general, and beautiful and unique playing cards in particular, covering a wide range of themes and styles." That their playing cards are indeed the real thing, is very evident from the already published Nouveau Playing Cards series, which consists of several beautiful decks linked together with a similar look, and inspired by the roots of French playing cards and by French art.

In this review series, I'll be covering some of Bona Fide's newest decks, which include the final installment of the Nouveau Series, namely another beautiful jewelry inspired deck called Nouveau Gemmes Playing Cards. In addition they have recently finished producing a two-deck set that is a tribute to two masterpieces of fiction by Alexandre Dumas, namely The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Finally, there's is perhaps the item that will be of most interest to board game fans, namely a Kickstarter that is currently being funded for a stylish chess themed deck called King's Game Playing Cards.



The original Nouveau deck was created as the 2016 Annual Deck for the UnitedCardists forum. It had as its companions a Nouveau Bougogne deck (burgundy), a Nouveau Bijoux deck (jewelry), and a Nouveau Perle (pearl) deck, all of which turned out fantastic.

These exquisite decks received high praise for their classy tuck boxes, French style artwork, elegant detail, and quality card stock and handling. They were truly beautiful in every respect, and as a very satisfied owner of all four decks, I'm happy to say that they are a delight to use and enjoy.


Nouveau Gemmes deck

But now comes Nouveau Gemmes Playing Cards, as the final installment in this lovely series. It is the third deck inspired by Art Nouveau jewelry (along with Bijoux and Perle), and was produced in a very limited edition of only 500.

While the previous tuck boxes already gave evidence of the luxurious gem theme, this tuck box is perhaps the ultimate crown jewel of the series, with a very lavish and highly ornate design. The front of the tuck box reprises the gorgeous artwork of the exquisite Ace of Spades, while the back of the box gives us our first glimpse of the lovely patterns that we'll see on the card backs.


All four Aces feature highly detailed artwork, with influences from nature in the form of plants, flowers and birds clearly evident. The artwork on the card back is absolutely exquisite, with lots of detail to reward the attentive observer, and yet a straight-forward and immediately recognizable overall shape and design.


Like its predecessors, the court cards feature the classical heroes and heroines commonly pictured on French decks from when playing cards first commonly appeared in sixteen century Western Europe.


While the large pips on the cards feature a very intricate jewel-inspired design, much like that of the previous versions of this deck, what I really appreciate about this new version of the deck is that the indices have much clearer pips, which greatly assists in making this deck more playable and functional.


The artwork is inspired by 19th century French style Art Nouveau, often described as being dominated by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms.


Here are the Jokers, which will be reminiscent of what we've seen in the previous decks, but with a striking colour scheme that evokes rubies and other precious gemstones.


All the five members of the Nouveau series are excellent, but the exquisite artwork and colours of this deck, from the tuck box to the cards themselves, plus the use of more easily recognizable indices to make this deck more usable, arguably makes the Nouveau Gemmes the best of the lot!

Bravo Karin Yan and Bona Fide Playing Cards, for adding another fine jewel to this wonderful collection of Nouveau decks!




So are the decks from Bona Fide Playing Cards for you?

I've really enjoyed the Nouveau series of playing cards, and the new Nouveau Gemmes would seem to be the best yet. The Alexandre Dumas decks are totally different again, going in a literary direction, and incorporate many elements from the books. The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers decks show that designer Karen Yan not only has ability to make ornate designs, but also incorporate thoughtful symbolism and content based on characters and themes drawn from classic novels.

That same creativity, depth of thought, and artistic design is also present in the new King's Game decks from Bona Fide Playing Cards, which are a wonderful tribute to the classic game of chess. These decks are sophisticated and classy in every way, and yet are also very practical and playable. They will especially be appreciated by anyone who loves the classic board game, and would make a terrific gift for gamers, or even for yourself if you love card games - as I do!

It's also worth mentioning that the quality of Karin's artwork and design is matched by the quality of printing and card stock, since Bona Fide Playing Cards only uses industry leaders like Expert Playing Cards to produce their decks of cards. I own many decks by EPCC, and they are all fantastic. My respect and admiration for Bona Fide Playing Cards only continues to grow, and with the current King's Choice project, I think we are perhaps going to see their best yet!


Want to learn more? Visit Bona Fide Playing Cards:
Official website:
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr

Direct links for where some the decks featured in this review series can be found:
- King's Game (Kickstarter)
- The Count of Monte Cristo
- The Three Musketeers
- Nouveau Gemmes

The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Pictorial Review: Nouveau Gemmes deck (Bona Fide) (0 Likes)
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