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Sunday, 3 July 2011

London Masterpiece VI: a CARTIER necessaire at SJ Phillips



This 1925 lacquer, mother-of-pearl and diamonds "necessaire" box was made by Cartier and is on display at Masterpiece by London dealer SJ. Phillips. Precious objects for women to carry their essentials can be traced back to the eighteen century in different versions, but the use of make up (in the 1920s) revolutionised the design. Vanity cases, like the one above, designed to keep powder and lipstick became another piece of jewellery and a fundamental part of the matching outfit. The most sophisticated version of them was Van Cleef's invention of the Minaudiere, a larger version with a cigarette compartment as well!.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

London Masterpiece V: Rene BOIVIN at Hancocks


This spectacular - "architectural" ring was designed by Suzanne Belperron for Rene Boivin in 1934. This revolutionary woman, left the firm to establish on her own in 1931 but she probably continued working on commissions for them. The ring is set with diamonds and citrines in yellow gold and a true anticipation of the bold retro style to come in the 1940's. She was a visionary and a unique creative genius. The ring is featured at Hancocks amongst many other important pieces like the choker necklace below, a rare find signed by Black Star & Frost and made in 1905 in the purest Belle Epoque style.

London Masterpiece IV: MINK earrings by Meret Oppenheim


London dealer 21st Century has one of the richest collections but perhaps my pick would be this extraordinary pair of earrings made with mink by surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim in the 1960's which could not represent better the whole spirit of that decade.

Friday, 1 July 2011

London Masterpiece III: LALIQUE at Epoque Fine Jewels


Brussels based Antique dealer Epoque Fine Jewels is presenting an incredible range not only for the quality of the pieces but also for their beauty, one of the most tasteful collections at the fair.

Above, this magnificent Art Nouveau pendant/brooch by Rene Lalique was made c. 1900 and features a beautiful Hawthorn blossom set in enamelled gold with frosted glass and diamonds.

Below, another piece by Lalique, also Art Nouveau, it is a collar plaque made of gold, enamel and diamonds with four striking blue thistle flowers.


Besides Lalique, they have brought a huge selection of all the masters including this extremely rare "collier de chien" by Cartier made in velvet and platinum set with diamonds and turquoises which is one of the finest examples of the Garland Style.


London Masterpiece II: Marie Antoinette's PEARLS


These were Marie Antoinette's pearls given as a gift to Lady Sutherland, wife of the English Ambassador in Paris at the time she was taken to prison. This is proper Provenance!.  The pearls were mounted  later as the necklace above, in 1849 on the occasion of a family wedding. The piece is offered by Wartski at London Masterpiece, it is not signed but the design is stunning, a row of calibre cut rubies with a twisted golden rope from which the pearls hang forming a beautiful star.