Saturday, 31 December 2011

CAROLINA BUCCI and her woven jewels

This is a long overdue post. Carolina Bucci is a great jewellery designer but she is also a friend and in wanting to write a very nice piece, I have left it for far too long!.

Carolina belongs to a family of jewellers with more than 125 years of tradition; she could have easily chosen to fulfil her dream of devoting her work life to jewels by joining the family business but she went for the hard way of creating her own brand to develop her extremely original and groundbreaking ideas. When she was little, she loved weaving multicoloured thread bracelets, so soon after she finished Art school she started weaving golden chains and silk thread into incredible bracelets that are nowadays sought after an treasured by the lucky ones that have discovered her. Her pieces are elegant yet colourful and young, a rare achievement!.

View Carolina Bucci's website

Thursday, 29 December 2011

An exceptional Art Nouveau pendant/brooch by FOUQUET

This piece epitomises Art Nouveau. It is a pendant/brooch signed by Fouquet which undoubtedly was created by George Fouquet, the son of Alphonse F., who took over the family jewellery business in 1895 and embraced the Art Nouveau artistic trend. He was a visionary and a pioneer and his genius still has an influence today. He is the one responsible for the term Bijouterie, referring to jewellery that was focused on design and beauty rather than as a mere display of fine stones; in other words he elevated crafts to the category of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a retrospective exhibition, described Fouquet's Art Nouveau period as the time when "for a brief glorious moment, extravagant beauty reigned supreme".

One has to think about the impact that a brooch like this must have had in the early 1900's and the contrast of its exotic organic shape in yellow gold set with dramatic coloured enamel and semiprecious stones like the centre turquoise and the drop white opal with the white Belle époque and Garland style jewellery of his contemporaries with flower and lace motifs set in white metal and diamonds only!

George Fouquet partnered with Alphonse Mucha, the artist who designed the interior of his new shop in Paris, a perfect magical frame for his pieces which was a work of art in itself.

The piece will be auctioned by Sotheby's NY on February 9th.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A closer look to SEVAN Biçakçi

These pieces are part of the current ART ROCKS exhibition at Shizaru Gallery in London, curated by Joanna Hardy and no better than her words to take us through this extraordinary journey of unique jewellery. Sevan's originality and reverse intaglios have earned him a place amongst the masters!

 God of us Goldsmiths / Birth of Athena, 2010
Gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, amethyst, pearls, paintings by Hasan Kale portraying the witnesses at the birth of Goddess Athena


"Considered a troublemaker at school, Biçakçi was apprenticed to a local master goldsmith in his early teenage years. It was here his creativity came into development, and aged only eighteen, he began his own goldsmithing venture with two partners producing works for extraneous jewellery manufacturers. Ten years later the business was forced to close, opening new doors and a fresh platform from which he was able to exercise his creativity. His primary point of reference became the city in which he lived, Istanbul, as in his own words, ʻI wanted to put Istanbulʼs spirit into jewellery.ʼ In 2002 Biçakçi began his own bespoke jewellery range.
Biçakçi describes his work as, ʻthe Byzantine Emperor and the Ottoman Sultan meet Alice in Wonderland.ʼ Each piece is a collusion of various disciplines, including painting, calligraphy, enamelling, sculpting, metal chasing and notably micro-mosaicking. This is a painstaking process once widely practiced in Istanbul and often appearing in 18th and 19th century jewellery. It consists of using tiny tesserae of glass and stone to create a miniature mosaic with which Biçakçi adorns his work, referencing in an unprecedented way Turkeyʼs rich history with the art form. Each piece uses around 7,000 tesserae, requiring enormous concentration, patience and dedication.
Biçakçiʼs most notable trademark is his masterful use of reverse intaglio jewellery, which finds its roots in ancient Mesopotamian history. Here Biçakçi carves and paints the reverse of a gemstone, creating elaborate and magnificent architectural scenes either representing Turkish landmarks or merely from his own imagination.
Biçakçiʼs work, while rich in historical context and made using traditional methods (the only modern device in his studio is a laser metal welder), still manages to maintain a contemporary feel. The pieces appear to evade time, existing in their own miniature universe to which the collector may bring his own interpretation.
Sevan Biçakçi is the recipient of various awards, including the Tanzanite Foundation Award for Best Independent Design of 2007, as well as winning the Town & Country Couture Gemstone Award three years in a row."

Hagia Sophia, 2010 
gold, silver, diamonds, smoky topaz with
engraved intaglio inspired by Hagia Sophia 

Virgin Mary, 2011
gold, silver, diamonds, citrine with engraved intaglio

of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus

Byzance, 2007
Gold, silver, diamonds, micro-mosaic, lemon topaz with engraved intaglio inspired by byzantine churches 

City of the Gazelles, 2010
gold, silver, diamonds, moonstone with engraved

intaglio inspired by islamic architecture

Monday, 12 December 2011

A BOUCHERON Art Nouveau brooch from Liz Taylor

This is a beautiful Art Nouveau brooch made by Boucheron in November 1900 in Paris. In the shape of a butterfly, it was originally designed as a hair comb. The piece displays an extraordinary plique-à-jour  enamel work and it is set in calibre cut emeralds, cabochon rubies, opal and turquoise.

It belongs to the Elizabeth Taylor collection that will be auctioned by Christie's in NY next December 13th.

SHLUMBERGER: The night of the Iguana Liz Taylor Brooch

This is the brooch that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor on the night of the premiere of the film The Night of the Iguana on August 11th, 1964. It features a dolphin set in diamonds designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. It is part of the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor that Christie's will auction on December 13th

Sunday, 11 December 2011

BOUCHERON: An exceptional enamelled jewel

In my opinion, this is the most important piece that will be auctioned by Sotheby's London next wednesday, December 14th. It is a brooch made by Boucheron in the 1890's depicting a cicada with the most exquisitely made wings in plique-à-jour enamel and calibre cut sapphires. The head and the body are set in diamonds and sapphires as well and the eyes are set with two cabochon cat's eye crysoberyl.

Frederic Boucheron opened his first shop at the Palais Royal in Paris in 1858. He was admired and reputed amongst his contemporary jewellers for his superb craftsmanship, his daring designs and imagination and his selection of only best stones. The brooch above was made many years before the Art Nouveau movement started in Paris, Boucheron breaks here with the formalities in fine jewellery imposed by the Belle Epoque and the Garland style and turns a daily insect into the finest piece. This is a true predecessor of the style both for the technique as well as for the naturalistic motif.

Plique-à-jour (French for "letting in daylight") is a vitreous enamelling technique where the enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné, but with no backing in the final product, so light can shine through the transparent or translucent enamel. It is in effect a miniature version of stained-glass and is considered very challenging technically: high time consumption (up to 4 months per item), high failure rate, requires psychological strength to start over. The technique is similar to that of cloisonné, but using a temporary backing that after firing is dissolved by acid or rubbed away. The technique was developed in Byzantine Empire in 6th century AD and was revived in the late 19th century movement of revivalist jewellery, and became especially popular in Russia, Scandinavia and in the French Art Nouveau.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

SOPHIA MANN: the art of life in jewellery

One of the most striking discoveries I have had in a long time!. The exhibition "Art Rocks" curated by Joahanna Hardy (at the Shizaru Gallery in London) presents young artist Sophia Mann who graduated from St. Martin's just a couple of years ago.

Sophia's pieces are first of all unique works of art, full of life and meaning, yet she has chosen the unusual mean of fine jewellery to express her vision. The metal work is cold, strong and solid in a very masculine way, but the beaded work is feminine, sensual and organic. In this ring yellow rough diamonds are combined with different coloured coral beads and rubies, sapphires and apatite and set in 18ct gold in a provocative and extremely original design that can inspire any kind of reaction but apathy. One may love it or hate it but it can leave no one neutral. I'm clearly in the first category, an instant fan!.

Monday, 5 December 2011

A NARDI moretto set with turquoise and coloured diamonds

This is another moretto by Nardi that will also be auctioned by Phillips de Pury in NY. In this instance Nardi is using his well known carved ebonite head as a base to display a set of cabochon turquoise, coloured diamonds and pearls in an elaborate design. An unusual combination that the master jeweller manages to turn into a creation that could rival any haute couture design.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

NARDI: a rare moretto set with opals

For Nardi moretto's collectors this one is a truly rare find. The head is made of carved ebonite with the turban set with three garnets ending with a start set ruby. The bodice has a strong geometrical design, very elaborate and set with circular cut rubies; however the rarest feature of the piece are the cabochon black opals alternated with cultured pearls. It will be auctioned in NY by Phillips de Pury on December 6th.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

LIZ TAYLOR'S Online auction starts today!

Christie's online auction for the minor jewels and memorabilia from Liz Taylor's collection starts today. Almost 1000 items will be up for sale until December 17th, a very brave and innovative approach to the high end auction world, let's see how it goes!

View auction online

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Review coming soon!!! it's jewellery auction season again!!