Thursday, 31 March 2011

Magnificent colombian emeralds by VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

"My mother says I didn't open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked." (Elizabeth Taylor)

The Taylor-Burton Bulgari necklace that she wore to the 1970's Oscars

A tribute to Elizabeth Taylor!. Emeralds were her favourite gemstone and these ones would have been worthy of her liking. An extraordinary set of colombian emeralds and diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels. Difficult to imagine such extravagance worn by anyone else. It will be auctioned at Christie's NY on April 12th. 

PAUL FLATO: a "tree" brooch

This is a cute brooch by Paul Flato, the jeweller of the Hollywood stars, born in Texas. It will be auctioned by Sotheby's NY on April 14th. It features an original design as a naturalistic tree branch with the leaves made of diamonds and citrine stones.

View lot details

Jewelry Insider™: Christie's to Auction Elizabeth Taylor's $150 Mill...

Jewelry Insider™: Christie's to Auction Elizabeth Taylor's $150 Mill...: "Jewelry hounds? This is one of those times when I wish I had a few $mil burning a hole in my pocket. OK. That's not an 'uncommon' thought, b..."

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

VEVER: a butterfly pendant

This is a piece by Vever. That should be all about it. One of the grandest jewellers of all time and an extraordinary artist. He embraced the Art Nouveau aesthetics, competing with Lalique, but he did not renounce to the use of important gemstones. This is not just a collector's item, it's a small treasure.

It will be auctioned by Sotheby's in NY on April 14th.

View details

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

YARD: an art deco double clip brooch

Raymond Yard's jewellery is known for using only the best quality gemstones and not just for his great design. According to Macklowe he "elevated Art Deco to a new level". He started working for Marcus  & Co at the age of thirteen. He spent twenty years learning every aspect of the business and in 1922 he opened his own business mainly due to the encouragement of  John D. Rockefeller Jr. His first commission was actually Rockefeller's wedding. If he was well known and appreciated before, this catapulted him to the highest society and celebrity world. He was such a perfectionist that there was never certainty about when a pice would be ready since he would only do it once he had found the most appropriate stone for each one of them. When he retired in 1958 he was succeeded by Robert Gibson who had also been trained at Marcus & Co. The firm continues today under Robert's son, Bob Gibson.

Yard became famous for mixing different cut gemstones to add light to the design as well as for redesigning existing pieces.

This diamond and ruby brooch is a very fine example of his work, it will be sold at Christies NY on April 12th.

View lot details

Important pair of Art deco clip brooches by CARTIER

Christie's NY is presenting this pair of Cartier clip-brooches. They are dated Art Deco but the most impressive feature about them is the quality of the stones: the cluster design of rubies in particular, suspended from an emerald and a sapphire all surrounded by diamonds. Undoubtedly a great jewel, but I just wonder why the order of stones has been inverted since normally in tutti frutti  the emerald is always between the sapphires and the rubies to maximise the light.

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Indian inspired ART DECO bracelet with star sapphire

This is a very unusual Art Deco piece. It is a bracelet that reminds me the Cartier quimera ones from the same period. But this one is all platinum set with diamonds, featuring two elephant heads that hold a large cabochon star sapphire. I cannot think of many pieces that would fit better the Indian inspired trend in Art Deco.

It will be auctioned at Sotheby's NY on April 14th.
View lot details

Monday, 28 March 2011

RENE BOIVIN: a 1960's "winged angel" brooch

Rene Boivin was undoubtedly one of great french jewellery masters in the beginning of the 20th century. He was a great designer and craftsman but more interestingly, he was the first pioneer in linking jewellery to fashion. Rene Boivin married Jeanne Poiret who was the sister of the famous couturier and soon his wife became the first jeweller woman known in modern history. When he died in 1917, his wife took over running the company with their daughter and a friend, Juliette Moutard; three women!. In 1921 they hired Suzanne Belperron as a designer who worked with them until 1932. Today the firm belongs to Asprey.

This late 1960's brooch that will be auctioned at Christie's NY is so different to the work of the original master, that the only reason why I am posting about it is as a reminder that brands that survive longer than their founders have a very difficult task in maintaining the same standards of creativity!.

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VERDURA: An iconic aquamarine ring

Everyone has seen at least a picture of the famous Verdura heart shaped ruby brooch wrapped in a diamonds bow!. The brooch was commissioned as a St. Valentine's gift, and Fulco liked so much the idea if "gift-wrapping one's heart" that he used it all throughout his life. As unconditional admirer of Verdura as I am, I am not so sure how practical or beautiful this concept is as a ring, though!

This aquamarine ring is featured at Christie's NY auction on april 12th.

View lot details

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Louis Comfort TIFFANY: the evolution of his style

These three necklaces were made by Louis Comfort Tiffany around 1915. I find it more interesting to look at them together rather than one by one. Louis C. Tiffany, grandson of the founder, was the first American grand master jeweller. He went beyond exquisite stone selection and craftsmanship, he was more interested in the artistic side of his creations. He took his inspiration in the European Impressionist and Art Nouveau movements and was obsessed by "light and colour", hence his worldwide famous lamps.

As a true artist, he was continuously evolving and experimenting and that is clearly appreciated in the sequence of these three necklaces. The first one, is one his classics: a moonstone and american sapphire pendant set in platinum. The second one is a yellow gold and platinum (rarely mixed) set with Lapis Lazuli beads of different shapes. And the third one is a yellow gold and coloured crystal of naturalistic inspiration.

The three pieces will be auctioned by Christie's NY on April 12th.

View lot details

An extremely rare "pendeloque" art deco brooch by CARTIER

This brooch has all the key characteristics or the purest Art Deco style in jewellery: the use of onix and coral set together with precious stones in platinum (diamonds and emeralds in this case), the combination of different geometrical shapes, the exotic inspiration and above all, the focus on design as the most important element for the beauty of a jewel, rather than the use of expensive stones. It was made by Cartier in 1922.
Pendeloque is the term used in gemmology for pear shaped cut stones, like the hanging emerald of this piece.

Christie's will be auctioning it in NY on april 12th, this will surely be one of the most sought after pieces by collectors.

View lot details

Saturday, 26 March 2011


CARTIER ART DECO: the movie!

Never seen so many Cartier Art Deco pieces together outside of a museum!!!

Christie's will be auctioning all of them next April 12th in New York, together with other magnificent jewels... Here is a preview, I will be posting about the best ones over the next days!!

A Rare Spanish Antique Emerald SEVIGNÉ Brooch

Towards the end of the XVI century, the Renaissance style started to evolve towards Baroque, and this brought two important innovations into jewellery. The first one is strictly technical, consisting on new methods for cutting gemstones; and the second one relates to the introduction of floral, ribbons and knot motifs instead of human and animal figures which were the main topics until then. This significant change is clearly appreciated in this piece. The corsage brooch is composed of three pieces: the first one of a ribbon design, the middle piece of floral design and the pendant is a square cross. The gold work is exquisite, presenting different layers of fine lace design and very delicate carving. The table cut emeralds are typical from the Spanish Baroque following the discovery of the emerald mines in Latinoamerica. The piece is a later work inspired in the work of Gilles Légaré published in 1663.

The fashion at the time, required this type of brooch to be worn centred in the chest or in the plunging neckline of the dress. It is a Spanish piece from 1700 that was probably made in Granada or Cordoba with no chance to know who the maker was because they did not sign their work yet. Besides its beauty, the importance of this brooch lies in its scarcity, as very few have survived until today.

It will be auctioned at Christie's Amsterdam on April 13th.

View lot details

Research by Ana Cicuendez

Friday, 25 March 2011

CARTIER: a modern "panther" bracelet

This is a modern panther bracelet by Cartier, a minimalist version of the house's recurring theme. The panther term comes from the days when Jeanne Toussaint (1887-1978) was Cartier's director. She was nicknamed the panther due to her liking for this animal and because she had her apartment full of this motif. Jeanne also was the one that designed the famous Duchess of Windsor panther brooch and bracelet and made the spot design an icon!.

This bracelet will be auctioned by Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 6th.
View lot details 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A QING DYNASTY carved pendant

This is a carved tourmaline pendant with a jadeite bead that dates back to the Qing Dynasty. Also known as the Manchu Dynasty, this was the last imperial ruling dynasty in China and lasted for the period 1644 to 1912.

It will be auctioned by Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 6th.
View lot details

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS: Mystery set ruby brooch

This is a very elegant brooch by Van Cleef and Arpels with calibre cut rubies using the house's trademark "Mystery set"technique which requires extremely skilled craftsmanship . The shape is simple and of oriental inspiration and it only accentuates the beauty of the design. It will be auctioned at Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 6th.

View Sotheby's lot details

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

CARTIER: an Art Deco kashmir sapphire clip brooch

A beautiful Cartier Art Deco clip brooch set with kashmir sapphires of an incredible quality. These type of clips were very popular in the 1930's, normally worn in pairs on each side of the dress or coat at the shoulders height. Both the shape and the combination of different cut gemstones are characteristic of the fine jewellery in the Art Deco style.

This piece will be auctioned by Sotheby's Hong Kong in April.
View lot details 

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS: Important 1959 "foliage" bracelet

This is an impressive bracelet made by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1959. It will be auctioned by Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 6th but it could have very well been part of the VCA exhibition in New York. The "foliage" design, typical of the 1950's is composed by two elongated fern tree leaves, one set in diamonds and the other one with the finest burmese rubies.

View Sotheby's details

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A BUCCELATTI multigem and opal pendant

A beautiful and unsual pendant by italian master Buccelatti for sale at 1stdbs. The central medallion is a cluster design around a large opal cabochon surrounded by a combination of small single cut sapphires, emeralds and rubies. It is for sale at 1stdbs

Coming from a long line of jewellery craftsmen and following an apprenticeship in goldsmithing at Beltrami e Besnati in Milan, Mario Buccellati opened his first shop in 1919 at $ Via Montenapoleone, Milan. In the following years, the fame of Buccellati jewels began to attract the attention of royalty all over the world, creating pieces for the Royal Families of Spain, Egypt and Italy, as well as for the Popes Pius XI and XII. In 1925, he opened a shop in Rome followed in 1929 by another one in Florence and then New York in 1953. The signature finishing touch of the firm is the “texture engraved” gold and the hallmark “15MI”, one of the oldest ones in Milan.

WALLACE CHAN: Amethyst and diamond ring

A ring by Wallace Chan that will be auctioned at Sotheby's Hong Kong in April. Set in pink colour titanium with a central diamond surrounded by amethysts and pave pink sapphires and diamonds it is designed as a beautiful flower. The piece is more remarkable when looked from the side than from the top as it shows the artistic merit of its author. I must admit that I was not very fond of the use of titanium in jewellery until I saw this ring!

View Sotheby's details

Monday, 21 March 2011

A MELO MELO pearl pendant

Melo Melo pearls are extremely rare and not known outside the jewellery collectors' circle and Asia. They are all natural because despite many attempts to culture them, nobody has succeeded so far. They are called pearls because, similar to conch pearls, they are created in response to a foreign element invading a snail shell, but they do not come from a clam and they are not made of nacre. They are usually large and the most valuable ones are the pieces that display an extremely bright orange colour.

This pendant will be auctioned at Sotheby's Hong Kong

KIMBERLY McDONALD: a great fire opal snake ring

This is a masterpiece by Kimberly McDonald!, the fire opal central gemstone is exquisite, and when combined with the serpent design set with black diamonds is just stunning.

Source: The Fashion Informer

Sunday, 20 March 2011

TIFFANY & Co: A sapphire and moonstone necklace from 1945

To me, the most interesting thing about this necklace is to compare it with the sapphire and moonstone pendants made by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the 1910's. Same theme, same stone combination and same jewellery house, Tiffany; however they could not be more different!. This piece is set in yellow gold and it shows he characteristic bold design of a statement piece from the 1940's.  It looks so modern and fashionable today that one could think Lanvin at first sight, but this one is not costume, it is an exquisite jewel!.

This demi parure will be auctioned by Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 6th. 


WIN the book of the season that best combines fashion and jewellery!, written by Vogue editor Carol Woolton. It is a journey through the last 100 years about the evolution of Couture paired with the great fine jewels. Each look is a contemporary winner!, I have found it an amazing inspiration that I am most happy to share.

What you need to do to win:

1. Follow with google
2. Like/Become a Facebook fan
3. Follow with Bloglovin
4. Follow on Twitter
5. Suscribe to daily email with Feedburner
6. Write a comment on this post saying which one is your favourite piece I have ever posted about or send me an email with it

I obviously have my pick, the winner will be the one that writes the best comment!

We will be closing the poll on April 10th!

A CARTIER yellow diamonds and sapphires panther

I can't resist posting about a Cartier panther every time I find one! They are so special, not just as a haute joaillerie symbol but also because they are one of the most versatile yet repeated themes in the history of Cartier. This brooch is made in yellow gold and set with yellow diamonds and blue sapphires, similar to the "tiger" collection although it is described in the Sotheby's catalogue as a panther. It will be part of the Hong Kong sale on April 6th.

View Sotheby's lot details

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A pair of JADEITE HUAIGU earclips

Huaigu or Pi Disk is one of the most traditional shapes in jadeite and is also a symbol of heaven and eternity in China.
Jadeite is a precious stone with ancient an background in two different civilisations, China and  Mesoamerica (Aztecs, Mayas etc..). In fact, the word Jade, used both in english and french comes from the spanish one piedra de ijada, since it was used for medicinal purposes. 
These great earrings of valuable emerald green jadeite will be auctioned at Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 6th.

View lot details

The RETRO charm bracelet

It was the actress Paulette Goddard, wife of Charlie Chaplin, who made these type of bracelet so fashionable. She had around thirty platinum charms set in a wide golden cuff instead of wearing them hanging from a chain in a conventional way. This piece is typical from the 1940's Retro style and it is an original way to turn a charm collection into a statement piece!

Image by 1stdibs

Friday, 18 March 2011

VICTOIRE DE CASTELLANE at Gagosian Gallery Paris

Victoire de Castellane lives and works in Paris. Essentially self-taught -- she attempted to make her first piece of jewelry at the age of five -- she designed costume jewelry for Chanel for fourteen years. In 1998 she joined Dior as the first Creative Director of their new jewelry department, a role she continues to this day. Her first exhibition “Belladone Island” took place in Monet’s Waterlily room at L’Orangerie, Paris in 2007.

De Castellane’s highly original collections for Dior have redefined and revivified haute joaillerie for a new generation. With Fleurs d’excès, she has gone further to create ten works that recall the jeweled obsessions of times past, such as the mechanical nightingale of Hans Christian Andersen’s children’s tale, Fabergé eggs, and the fabulous “bestiaries” of animals real and mythic. De Castellane’s intricately made hybrids each contain a wearable element, becoming “jewelry at rest, waiting to be worn.”

Thursday, 17 March 2011

WALLACE CHAN at Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong

A pair of earrings by Wallace Chan will be auctioned by Sotheby's in Hong Kong next April 6th. The genius artist that has devoted himself to designing jewellery is already a collector's rare find. Only four years after his first exhibition his pieces are already at one of the top auction houses in the world. These pair of earrings are made in titanium, his favourite metal, and set with rubies, diamonds and rock crystal drops. Will sure reach a record price.

View lot details by Sotheby's

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A very special early 20th century diamond and feather brooch

This is a unique brooch I found at Sotheby's that will be auctioned tomorrow. Unfortunately no high resolution picture is good enough to appreciate its beauty. It features a dandelion flower seed head with diamonds and ostrich feathers!, I have never seen anything so delicate and beautiful. The feathers have survived in perfect condition since the beginning of the twentieth century and wrap the diamonds in a magical way. My biggest regret is that it is unsigned and we cannot trace who is the maker of such a masterpiece.

VEVER: japanese inspired "garland style" body ornament

Like everyone else in the planet, can't stop thinking about Japan!. This piece will also be exhibited by Wartski in May, it is a corsage ornament featuring a group of cherry blossoms. It dispays the diamond setting and flower motifs typical of the "garland" style from the late XIX Century but the choice of the cherry tree is definitely Japanese inspired an it has a something special, modern for the time; it is a truly naturalistic design, instead of a static bouquet. It was made by Henri Vever c. 1900.

Both Lalique and Vever were awarded a Grand Prix at the Paris 1900 Exposition Universelle and just with them, the exhibition would already have been a breakthrough. While Lalique is a name recognised by everyone, Vever is known mostly amongst collectors and specialists. Henri Vever was third generation jeweller and took over a well established traditional jewellery business in 1881 together with his brother Paul. Only eight years later they were awarded a jewellery design Grand Prix together with Boucheron. The House of Vever became then a pioneer of Art Nouveau, but contrary to Lalique, they did from the establishment and designed wonderful naturalistic pieces for the setting of the most precious diamonds and coloured stones. Their jewellery revolution was less rebellious but their artistic merit was at the same level of their bohemian contemporaries. They made the setting of gems a new form of art. The house disappeared two generations later in 1982.

AKELO’s Pendant acquired by Newark Museum

Great comments from the museum's curator:

A pendant by the Italian artist Akelo in the permanent collection of the Newark Museum

New York - A jewel by Andrea Cagnetti, also known as Akelo in the artistic world, became part of the permanent collection of the Newark Museum in New York. It is the latest in a series of acquisitions of this artist’s works, confirming the great international appreciation of the Italian artist, known for his outstanding jewels.

This particular work of art, called Hoedus II and dated 1996, is a golden pendant in the shape of  an eight arm cross with double ring for suspension. The perpendicular arms present a decoration in plain wire and small golden globes and enclose at their upper end a flower in red cloisonné enamel; the transversal arms present a decoration realised in granulation with triangles and rosettes. The central sheet gold, bordered with a fine cord, exhibits an inner decoration realised using filigree and granulation.

"Collecting jewelry is very important to me as a curator of decorative arts, because I am interested in continuing to develop connections between the art of the jeweler and those of the silversmith, cabinetmaker, glassblower and potter.  Andrea Cagnetti (Akelo) is a modern master, breathing new life into age old techniques.  His unmatched skills as a goldsmith echo the brilliant work done by his forebears in Italy in the 19th century, yet he brings a modern eye to his artistry that places it firmly in the present day", said Ulysses Grant Dietz - Senior Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts of the Newark Museum.

Akelo’s works and unparalleled technical excellence combine with a timeless, classical language and the artist’s exquisite sensitivity as he creates original works of art that contain echoes of the past with a complete mastery of the materials and techniques, thanks to 25 years of unflagging experimentation. Among the most complex techniques, his granulation work stands out. It consists in welding miniscule golden spheres (1 mm to 0.07 mm, the so-called "dust") to create delicate and fascinating decorative designs on jewelry and objects. Magazines and specialized websites have dedicated a great number of publications and reviews to Andrea Cagnetti, underlining his talent and stylistic originality. His works have been put on display in several exhibitions around the world, the most recent being “The Voyage of A Contemporary Italian Goldsmith in the Classical World: Golden Treasures by Akelo” now on view at at the Museum of the Gemological Institute of America, in Carlsbad, California, in the United States.
Italian Artist’s Pendant acquired by Newark Museum - JewelleryNetAsia

Gem and jewelry exhibits in North America

Monday, 14 March 2011

TIFFANY & Co: a 1900 Mississippi pearls flower brooch

This piece will be part of the exhibition hosted by Wartski in London: Japonisme from Falize to Faberge: the goldsmith and Japan (10-20 may). It will explore the influence of Japan in western jewellers during the period 1867 to 1917. Amongst the 160 pieces by masters like Falize, Boucheron, Fouquet, Lalique, Vever, Cartier etc... We find this original Chrysantemum flower by Tiffany, made in 1904 with native American pearls.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Georges FOUQUET: Les trois crabes brooch

One of the finest and purest Art Nouveau examples, the famous "Les Trois Crabes" brooch by George Fouquet. It was made in France around 1900. It was precisely at the turn of the last century when a debate between two styles of jewellery emerged in France; joaillerie and bijouterie. The first term is applied to the mainstream of traditional jewellery houses for whom the most important element in a piece had to be the use of precious metals and important gemstones, these were the established houses like Boucheron, Falize, Vever, Sandoz and the likes. Their clientele was mainly aristocrats, landowners and the then small but growing group of newly enriched ones thanks to the industrial revolution.

Bijouterie was the style embraced by the new artist jewellers who were much more focused on design and felt that the value of a piece was determined by its artistic worth rather than the materials. These jewellers joined the Art Nouveau movement and created some of the most imaginative pieces ever made. The did not normally gave the means to invest in important gemstones so they found a substitute to create the desired colour effect in reviving the Renaissance technique of enamel!. The names are Lalique and Fouquet. Their clients were also different, the use of less expensive gemstones and materials made jewellery affordable to a much broader range of people and the style became the symbol of modernity at the time.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

A CARTIER Belle Epoque emerald millegrain brooch

This is a beautiful and extremely delicate brooch made by Cartier around year 1900. The oval pendant displays an exquisite millegrain work with platinum and diamonds characteristic of Belle Epoque jewellery. The piece is set with small but very fine emeralds. It is one of the latest acquisitions of London's dealer SJ Phillips of Bond Street, famous not only for its pieces but also for being Kate Moss' favourite vintage jewelry shop.

The millegrain (millegrain) setting is used to set a gemstone in a stamped or cast "collet" with a series of tiny beads, or "grains" of metal which are raised by working the metal around the rim of the collet using a knurling tool or millgrain tool. The technique reached its perfection with the introduction of platinum and it allows diamonds to sparkle without competing with reflected light from polished metal finishes. Sources: Antique Jewellery University and All about gemstones

Friday, 11 March 2011

Oscar Heyman: The pansy brooches

The "pansy" brooches by Oscar Heyman and Bros, New York are a classic, and beautiful!. Set in platinum and featuring different combinations of exquisite stones that can range from white and yellow diamonds with calibre rubies and sapphires to garnets, topazes or any colour combination that matches harmoniously. To me, there is only one way to wear these pieces and it is in pairs or even trios!

These brooches are for sale at London dealer S.J. Philips.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

VERDURA: A swan brooch

A fun and girly brooch by Verdura that will be auctioned at Sotheby's London this month. It features a white enamel swan holding a pearl with the feathers exquisitely made of diamonds.

Fulco Verdura was born in 1898 in Palermo. At the age of 21, he inherited his family fortune and spent it over six years enjoying life at the centre of Europe's high society. In 1926 he went to Paris to work for Coco Chanel as a textile designer and almost immediately after he joined he redesigned all her personal jewellery, which was a great collection of gifts by her lovers, the Duke of Westminster and the Russian Grand Duke Dmitri amongst others. So Verdura became Chanel's head Jewellery designer for a number of years until he decided to move to New York and start his own business. He opened his own business in a very personal way; he only designed and manufactured pieces for the people he liked. He focused on design rather than on showing expensive stones, yet his pieces are always exuberant. Today one can still have the experience of exclusivity in the personal way that he lived and sold his creations by visiting a recreation of his apartment in the 12th floor of a magnificent New York skyscraper at 745, 5th Avenue.

Image by Sotheby's

A TIFFANY 1915,s montana sapphire and moonstone brooch

This delicate brooch signed by Tiffany was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a great example of his work in platinum set with a central oval cabochon moonstone surrounded by ten Montana sapphires. He started designing in 1902 and took inspiration in nature adapting the french Art Nouveau style to America, in particular he favoured this combination of moonstone and montana sapphires which set in a light laced monture has an almost ethereal appearance, almost like the elves jewels in the Lord of The Rings!.

This brooch will be featured in the Skinner fine jewellery auction on March 15th, 2011 in Boston.

Image: Courtesy of Skinner Auction House

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

ATELIER MINYON: The "Pascha" of rings

Pasha means Sultan in turkish and that is what designer Alp Sagnak evokes with his ancient ottoman inspired modern jewellery. He is the second generation of Ankara based Atelier Minyon, well established traditional jewellers and he is a true rebel!. He opened a store in Soho, NY in 2008 and filled it with his wildest dreams: skills, black diamonds and the fantastic Pasha rings.  This pear shaped topaz ring is set in a mix of silver and gold with diamonds and rubies in a foliate monture and it works great, a modern piece executed to antiquity perfection.

View Atelier Minyon

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

CARTIER and India: The Daisy Fellowes Tutti Frutti necklace

"Daisy Fellowes is acknowledged as having been one of the 20th century's most stylish and glamorous women, words which could equally well describe her jewelry collection"(1). This is my favourite piece; a Tutti Frutti necklace that she commissioned to Cartier in 1936 which was originally designed in the purest indian style (with a black cord fastening at the back), and later transformed in 1963 by her daughter the Comtesse de Casteja. The pendant sapphires weight 146 carat and the ones on the clasp 45 carat. The rest of the piece is mounted on platinum set with carved sapphires, emeralds and rubies combined with emerald cut diamonds. No wonder the Duchess of Windsor had a very similar one made for her by Cartier in 1949!.

The necklace was sold by Sotheby's and today it belongs to the Cartier collection.

Photo : Nick Welsh, Collection Cartier © Cartier
(1) Famous Jewelry Collectors, p 157  

Monday, 7 March 2011

JEAN FOUQUET: A rare ebonite and metal Art Deco bracelet

Christie's Paris is auctioning this extremely rare example of the purest abstract Art Deco period signed by Jean Fouquet. The bracelet is set as two ebonite circles with round metal spheres in between. Had it not been made by Jean Fouquet in 1931 one would just pass by it as a costume contemporary accessory!. However, it is an icon of one of the most radical changes in society when modernity was represented by the "new machine era" and a whole new aesthetics took over to recognise the benefits that industrialism and mass production would bring to humankind. It comes at an incredible estimate that reflects its value more as a sculpture that as a piece of jewellery; it is clearly only for collectors!

Catalogue notes
A founding member of the UAM in 1929, Fouquet was a purist whose creations reflect the consistent rigour of his aesthetic and his fastidious concern for faultless craftsmanship. He was one of a small but impressive generation of Paris jewellers - including notably Paul Brandt, Gérard Sandoz and Raymond Templier - whose creations are the wearable equivalent of the most formally pure avant-garde abstract sculpture.
This bracelet is the perfect adaptation, by a master of his craft, of the radical aesthetic of the 'new machine age' to the precious world of luxury jewellery. Jean Fouquet, the gifted son of jewellery designer Georges Fouquet who had triumphed in the Art Nouveau style, has conceived the most chic of adornments in a highly stylised revision of a piece of mechanical engineering.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

BOUCHERON: The Joan Crawford aquamarine parure

This parure is a true collector's find!. It has everything a piece should have: great design in the purest early retro style (c. 1935), signed by master jeweller Boucheron (Verger Frères for Boucheron, retailed in the US by E.H. Tompkins), fantastic stones (extremely well matched aquamarines) and an interesting and well documented provenance.

The parure was one of the favourite pieces of jewellery owned by famous actress Joan Crawford. Born Lucille Fay LeSeuer in Texas on 1904, she started her career working as a dancer in Detroit until she made it into Hollywood in 1925. She had three failed marriages before she met her last husband, Alfred Steele, then president of Pepsi-Cola. After he died, she took a position in the board of the company and continued acting until 1970. She was also famous for her incredible jewellery collection, much of it was sold during the last years of her life and the remaining pieces (her favourite ones) were sold at an auction when she passed away in 1977. This parure was acquired by Andy Warhol and it was auctioned again as part of his "Collection of Jewelry and Watches" in 1988. The set is now for sale at London antique dealer Hancocks where I have had the chance to actually try it on!.