Thursday, 27 December 2012

DANIEL BRUSH: Blue Steel Gold Light

Daniel Brush Second Dome 1983-1989

Over the past 40 years, Daniel Brush has created an oeuvre unparalleled in contemporary American art—from large-scale painted canvases to gold-domed containers encrusted with gold granules so miniscule they must be fused with microscopic precision. Daniel Brush: Blue Steel Gold Light, opened October 16, 2012, brings together for the first time works from throughout Brush’s career, including examples of his poetic paintings and drawings, a selection of his most significant steel and gold wall sculptures, jewelry made from plastic, aluminum, steel, and precious gems, and some of his earliest gold-granulated objects. The exhibition will be installed on MAD’s second-floor galleries—the first time a single living artist has commanded that entire floor, which includes the Tiffany and Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery—and will remain on view until February 17, 2013.

Daniel Brush Gold Heart 2003
He does not have a dealer and never has done a straight commission. Many who visit his workshop leave empty handed because he requires a personal "connection" with those who acquire his pieces!
Daniel Brush at Siegelson

Saturday, 15 December 2012

BIJOUX ET PIERRES PRECIEUSES: Bijouterie et Joaillerie ART DECO, 1925 l'Apogée.

This is a great article! Love the pics!

BIJOUX ET PIERRES PRECIEUSES: Bijouterie et Joaillerie ART DECO, 1925 l'Apogée.: Pendule Carpe de Cartier en Jade Cristal de roche, nacre, émail  rouge, base en onyx corail et or 1925 Le mouvement Art Déco débute...

Monday, 10 December 2012

AUCTION REVIEW: the unique jewelry collection of the Late Michael Wellby

Sandoz, Art Nouveau Brooch/Pendant in enamel and turquoises

For a jewelry collector in London, yesterday was one of the busiest sundays of the year as auction houses put their best shows on to help the public find special Christmas presents. The day started with an early 10:30 brunch and private view of the Christie's King St Magnificent Jewels exhibition which features an incredible selection of pieces signed by most of the master jewellers, from Verdura, Van Cleef and Arpels to Cartier, an authentic bling "bash". After a quick view of the Christie's South Kensington sale, we then headed towards Sotheby's in Bond Street for the ultimate jewelry indulgence.

After one year of no jewelry sales in London, Sotheby's come back could not have been better, and they went all in for it: champagne, canapés, a jewellery talk by David Bennet about the book he has written with Daniela Mascheti and of course the sale of the private collection of Late Michael Wellby, a famous dealer in german silver.

It is the most special collection that I have ever encounter for sale and it leaves one with a mixed feeling of both joy, at having discovered such amazing pieces, and sadness, at the thought that they will be split and sold separately. The owner and his wife spent over 60 years building up and looking after this collection, I don't know the reason why it is being sold now, but it is a bit of a shame!.

I found it amazing how they managed to condense the last four centuries of the history of jewellery in a little more than 200 pieces without leaving any major period or style out. The most remarkable feature of the collection however, is the consistent search for perfect craftsmanship. One can most definitely tell that each piece has been carefully selected and incorporated into the collection on its own merit. Undoubtedly one of the most special sales that we have seen lately!.

Mid Nineteenth Century Tiara

Saturday, 8 December 2012

A fantastic Emerald Ray Brooch by VERDURA

This a classic Verdura design, the Ray Brooch, from the 1950's. In fact the most popular version (the Knot) of it is displayed in CFJ Gallery by Hancocks. The one above is set with a magnificent cabochon emerald which makes it a unique piece for Verdura; he did not fancy using expensive stones as he wanted his pieces to stand out for their design, in the occasions when he did use very fine gemstones, the work was probably a custom made commission.

The brooch will be auctioned at Christie's King Street on December 12th. After New York and Bonhams London last week, this coming one we have two very special sales in London, Besides Christie's South Kensington on monday, Sotheby's on tuesday and Christie's King Street on wednesday with a huge selection of magnificent pieces!. And tomorrow morning... private view over brunch, could it be better?.

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.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

VAN CLEEF and ARPELS: record prices on Art Deco pieces at Bonhams

Van Cleef and Arpels breaks records and makes history. The brooch above sold today at Bonhams Bond Street, London for more than one million pounds. It features a typical Art Deco design set in different cut diamonds alternated in geometrical fashion and two very important drop pendants, an emerald and a natural pearl. The piece is huge and incredibly beautiful, undoubtedly one of the best examples of VCA Art Deco. Worthy of a collector!.

The other two pieces, are a set of ring and bracelet in emerald cut diamonds and burmese rubies. The central ruby in the ring, although less than three carats in weight is spectacular. The laboratory certificate did not qualify it as pigeon blood colour but to my humble eye it could not be otherwise. I loved the rubies, however the most remarkable feature of these pieces is their design; pure simplicity, magnificent Art Deco examples from not only a master jeweller but also a master stone setter. The pieces have been sold for more than ten their estimate.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Bejewelled Art Deco Handbags... from another world

These amazing handbags belong to another era. Not only are they Art Deco in style and therefore form the 1920s-30s, but they also belong to a world so full of glamour that ordinary jewels were not enough and both men and women used to display all kind of bejewelled objects as well. Naturally handbags (or purses in America) became a perfect canvas for master jewellers to display their creativity and genius craftsmanship. Enamelled gold was always the preferred base for the claps which were set with Lapis lazuli and other coloured stones and embellished with tiny diamonds. These are three magnificent examples, the first one signed by Cartier, the other two with French hallmarks. All will be auctioned by Sotheby's NY on December 5th.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Revival style necklace by Louis Comfort TIFFANY

This is a rare necklace designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1913. The piece is set in yellow gold with a large carved Lapis lazuli and turquoise, amber and green stone beads. The revival style was very popular towards the end of the Nineteenth century, specially the greek and roman revival pieces that made Castellani and Giuliano so famous. The Egyptian revival was less popular and the style would become one of the main sources of inspiration the the Art Deco egyptian stream one decade later. The necklace is a great example of Louis Comfort Tiffany constant study of the use of colour and how to adapt it to jewellery. Similar to his coloured glass lamps, the jewels that he designed have become sought after and valued by collectors mainly for their artistic value. This piece will be auctioned by Sotheby's NY on December 5th.

A rare Art Deco bracelet by RUBEL Freres

This bracelet is a rare find on more than one count. For starters it presents quite an unusual design for an Art Deco piece with a curious asymmetric geometrical design. In second place it is signed by a French jeweller that disappeared more than half a century ago, Rubel Freres. On top of that, the piece displays less than perfect emeralds and given how much Asian collectors appreciate perfect stones, the fact that it will be auctioned by Christie's in Hong Kong is also a curiosity.

I have found very little information so far about Rubel Freres but basically the firm was established in Paris and in 1939 the firm entered  into an association with Van Cleef and Arpels, whom they followed to New York after they opened the first shop on 1943. Rubel Freres established themselves on Fifth Avenue as John Rubel Co., next to the Savoy. They were in business only for four years, until 1947 but they created some of the most iconic pieces of jewellery of the 1940's. In particular, they became famous for their ballerina brooches (they even used the same designer as Van Cleef for these, Maurice Duvalet) and specially the ones inspired by the flamenco dancers they used to employ at their Greenwich Village cafe.

Friday, 23 November 2012

GIMEL: Japanese perfection in modern jewellery

What I like the  most about Gimel is her sense of humour. Kaoru Kay Akihara is a unique contemporary jeweller. She trained in Canada and Los Angeles before establishing her studio in Japan overlooking the Rokko Mountains National Park. Akihara pieces are identified by their nature inspiration, the simplicity of their design and the perfection of their craftsmanship...and always, a little bejewelled bug hidden somewhere for the owners delight!. How much fun is that? She is also famous for personally selecting only the finest stones for each piece. The brooch above, one of the first pieces by Gimel that I have ever found at an auction, is set with an impressive burmese pigeon blood ruby that weights 6.8 carats. It will be sold by Christie's Hong Kong on November 27th and the estimate is c. $2-3 million!

WALLACE CHAN at Christie's Hong Kong...again!

Wallace Chan is one of the rarest contemporary makers to find due to the incredible amount of work that each one of his pieces require. They are often much closer to miniature sculptures than to jewellery. For this reason every time we find one coming up for sale at an auction we tend to feature almost immediately. Lately, we have been treated to an unusually frequent appearance of pieces in recent auctions. Together with the selection displayed last September in Paris at the Biennale, this year is Wallace's!.

These two brooches will be auctioned by Christie's Hong Kong on November 27th. The first one is a butterfly set with carefully selected graduated pink sapphires and the second one is a very original cicada set with black opal and lapis lazuli. And the emerald earrings below are just sensational!.

Let the AUCTIONS come!

Barely a month after the grand Geneva Jewelry auction sales, the pre Christmas season is on! and this year is full blast across London and New York. We will not miss it!

Sunday, 11 November 2012


The Belle Epoque is the period that goes from 1890 until the outbreak of World War I. It was a time of opulence and extravagant luxury. The world was thriving economically and a new class of wealth had taken over society; the American millionaire. Not just the americans, industrialist and merchants worldwide found themselves capable of buying their entry into high society. Money was not the problem and it was thrown into decorative arts commissions as the perfect display for their success. Obviously jewellery was a the centre of this trend. The discovery of diamonds in South Africa in the 1860's inundated the market with stones and the newly discovered use of platinum became the perfect marriage for "white" jewellery of delicate lace designs known as the Garland Style.

Jewellery acquired such significance that elegance required that only certain type of pieces were worn depending on the occasion. Sautoirs and pearls were appropriate only for dinner parties, tiaras for the opera, corsage ornaments for evening dresses etc…

A rare and extremely delicate Belle Epoque pearl and diamond brooch, it will be auctioned by Christie's Geneva on November 13th.

It was also a time when it was socially acceptable to acknowledge mistresses and courtesans  publicly, the famous "Grandes Horizontales" or demi-monde women that ruled Paris during these decades and whose fame has reached until today for who has not heard of La Paiva, La Belle Otero or Liane de Pougy. These women collected the most fabulous jewels made in their time as they attached their security and status to them. A review of their collection will take almost a new blog. There is an important anecdote though, the jewellery that was considered "elegant" was set in platinum with pearls and diamonds only; the use of yellow gold or coloured gemstones was not considered tasteful.

This is a Belle Epoque brooch made by Cartier set with magnificent colombian emeralds. It would have been appropriate only as "daytime" jewellery and not to wear it to a formal occasion. It will be auctioned by Christie's Geneva on November 13th. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

BOUCHERON: Demi parure from Princess Salimah Aga Khan

The Boucheron archives show at least 100 entries for jewels sold to the Aga Khan III during the first half of the nineteenth century. Oddly, two thirds are for bracelets.

The Aga Khan was born in Karachi in 1877 and became Supreme Iman of the Ismaelians Muslim in 1885. He was raised in India, in exile due to his family prosecution in Iran. When he came to Europe, in the early 1900's, a legend began. As well as a religious symbol to millions, he was one of the richest men on Earth. He married four times and became famous for the jewellery commissions he offered as presents to all his wives. He owned racing stables, received as birthday present his weight in gold, even his son married Rita Hayworth, although that is a story for another post. 

The necklace and earrings featured above, belonged to Princess Salimah Aga Khan and were part of the famous 1995 Christie's auction where extraordinary jewels were sold. Amongst them, it was the renowned 13.78 carat heart shaped blue diamond, a fabulous stone sold by Boucheron. Set in yellow gold with white and yellow diamonds, this necklace is an arab fantasy of a fringe designed with graduated briolette diamonds. It will be auctioned by Christie's Geneva on November 13th.

A briolette is an elongated pear-shaped gemstone cut with triangular facets. It is 800 years old and was popular during the Victorian times and although its popularity waned thereafter, it has enjoyed a recent resurgence for precious and semi-precious stones.
The Smithsonian has a 275-carat (55 g) diamond briolette necklace presented by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1811 to his Empress consort Marie Louise.

BOOK REVIEW: Celebrating Jewellery

"This book is an unashamed indulgence for us both, and we make no apologies for it."
David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti

I have been counting down weeks to the publishing of this book ever since I first read about it. I finally got it and the beautiful package has remained unopened in my writing room until precisely thirty minutes ago, when I had a whole Saturday morning ahead of me, in rainy London, to devote to my favourite hobby. First, I have to say that "Understanding Jewellery", the previous work by the two authors, is one of my reference books, I keep on coming back to. And second, I am probably the worst target audience for a book written by two famous Sotheby's auctioneers since I hardly miss any important jewellery auction. 

Beautifully edited and with extraordinary quality pictures, everything in this book speaks of luxury, even the fact that it leaves every other page blank, so that when it is opened one can focus on the picture of one single piece at a time. It is the perfect coffee table photography book for a jewellery collector or connoisseur. 

My disappointment comes from my own mistake; I was expecting tons of anecdotes and stories and information to read for hours and the book is not intended to do so. There are just a few lines in each section to introduce the selections of photographs, which are magnificent. Truly and indulgence!.

Monday, 29 October 2012

WALLACE CHAN: Imperial Jade pieces for the Paris Biennale

A cicada is the Zen symbol for "stilled life", the one above is a brooch made by Wallace Chan set in carved Imperial Jade. The piece is extraordinarily detailed and the quality of the jade is exceptional. It belongs to the group of 50 pieces exhibited by Wallace Chan at the Paris Biennale, the price tag for this one is 30 million Euros!.

The necklace below, is also made in Imperial Jade, and it is inspired on the Chinese Great Wall, after which is also named. The price is 56 million Euros.

I have read in a south east asian newspaper, that Wallace Chan was quite happy with how welcomed his pieces have been in Paris and how he has felt a true appreciation as an artist. We most certainly hope he keeps on coming back, I am not sure if he realises how unique his creations specially at times like these for Europe!.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Unique CARTIER conch pearl Art Deco bracelet

I was in Madrid last weekend, and I found it quite amusing to read the Sunday papers and see some declarations of members of the Spanish Royal family denying any relationship to this bracelet, and even some "I wish it was mine" comment. The confusion in Madrid was created by the notes of Sotheby's catalogue stating that the piece belonged to a Member of the Spanish Royal Family. After all the speculation, Sotheby's has amended the catalogue and now there is a thorough explanation about the provenance of this magnificent piece. It sis indeed belong to Queen Victoria Eugenia and it is the only known piece made by Cartier combining conch pearl with black enamel; in a most extravagant Art Deco tutti frutti design.

The piece will be auctioned by Sotheby's Geneva on November 14th and it will surely achieve a record consideration.

Notes from the Sotheby's catalogue:

Victoria Eugenie was born on October 24th, 1887, at Balmoral Castle, in Scotland. Her grandmother was Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. To her family and the British general public, she was simply known as Ena.
It was in 1905, at Buckingham Palace, that Ena would make the acquaintance of her future husband, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, at a dinner hosted by her uncle, Kind Edward VII. While it was widely known that the King of Spain sought a suitable bride, most believed the strongest candidate to be Princess Patricia of Connaught, daughter of Kind Edward’s brother, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. Despite Princess Patricia’s best efforts, the King was suddenly struck by Ena’s beauty and her ‘almost white hair’. A year of courtship would ensue followed by instruction at Versailles on the Catholic faith, a must for the future Queen of Spain.
On May 31st, 1906, Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria Eugenie married King Alfonso at the Royal Monastery of San Geronimo in Madrid. Together, they would have seven children, five sons and two daughters. Ena devoted herself to various charitable causes and was actively involved in the reorganization of the Spanish Red Cross. In honour of this work, the city of Barcelona erected a statue of her in a nurse’s uniform, in 1929.
On the 14th of April 1931, the Spanish royal family went into voluntary exile, first to France and later to Italy, hoping to avert a civil war between the Republicans and the Nationalist. Sadly, the King and Queen’s marriage was not always joyous, put to light by the four illegitimate children fathered by Alfonso. Following their separation, Ena purchased a chateau in Vieille Fontaine, near Lausanne, Switzerland. She would reside there until her death on April 15th, 1969, at the age of 81.
Although Cartier had started experimenting with the use of a chromatic palette of carved gemstones in jewels as early as 1915, Cartier’s now famous ‘Tutti Frutti’ jewels were introduced at the Paris exhibition of 1925. These early examples often incorporated gemstones provided by the commissioning client. The use of conch pearls in a bracelet of this period by Cartier is unique; one can only assume that such an element was specifically requested or provided by the client.
Examples of similar bracelets by Cartier of this period normally employ the use of two or three coloured gemstones. This bracelet is rare as it incorporates the use of only one accent colour, the light pink iridescent shades of the conch pearl. And whilst other examples employ carved and polished gemstones, the natural flame like structure of the conch pearl negates any need for carving. Also adding to the illusion of naturalism is the use of black enamel at the base of each ‘fruit’ creating a shadow effect. This bracelet ranks amongst the most important jewels created by Cartier in the inter-war years.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A CARTIER Art Deco Tiara

Christie's will also be auctioning this impressive Art Deco tiara signed by Cartier. It was made in the 1920's and perhaps its most striking feature are the dozens of graduated pear shaped diamonds that are hanging loose giving the piece a rather more dynamic and less formal air to what normally is expected in a tiara.

A very rare PAIR of Art Deco Jabot pin brooches

This is an extraordinary pair of matching Art Deco jabot pin brooches. It is set in platinum with round cut diamonds, cabochon onix and black enamel. They will be auctioned by Christie's in Geneva on November 13th. The brooches are unsigned, however the estimate is quite astronomical for the value of the gemstones, it must surely be due to the rarity of the design.

A "jabot", is a kind of ruffle worn on the bosom of a man's shirt or woman's blouse. The "jabot pin" was designed to hold the jabot onto the shirt. It is basically a pin with a brooch at either end.

THE ART OF CARTIER... a Madrid exhibition

Undoubtedly, this is the event of the season in Madrid; a 400 piece exhibition of the Cartier Foundation private collection. It opened last Monday and it will be on display at the famous XIX Century Old Masters Painting Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza until February 2013. The exhibition is organised across seven different sections that range from Cartier apprenticeship years to major topics like Art Deco or Tiaras. There are a great number of original drawings as well as some iconic pieces on loan from the Spanish Royal Family and Monaco. The beautiful Kingfisher brooch above, set with carved emeralds, is just the appetiser, for we will be devoting a great deal of time to study the collection and we will post accordingly, stay put!

Monday, 24 September 2012

A great diamond "rosebud" brooch by VERDURA

This brooch is not one of the most expensive pieces of jewellery to be auctioned by Sotheby's from the Estate of Brooke Astor, however it is one of my favourites. It was made by Verdura in 1958 and it is set with 206 circular diamonds and 29 baguette cut. Both the craftsmanship and the design are exceptional.

Notes from Sotheby's catalogue

In 1934, after years of working as a textile and jewelry designer for Coco Chanel in Paris, Fulco di Verdura took the advice of Diana Vreeland, the fashion journalist and later Vogue editor, and immigrated to the United States to work under the tutelage of jewelry designer Paul Flato. As Vreeland suspected, this would become an auspicious partnership. Flato's jewelry was sculptural and whimsical, which was perfectly aligned with Verdura's own design aesthetic. While working for Flato, Verdura made a name for himself by creating jewels that were striking and contemporary yet playful. His designs garnered such attention that he was able to open his own Fifth Avenue salon in 1939 with the financial backing of Cole Porter and Vincent Astor.
Once Verdura opened his own salon, he created jewelry for many members of New York's social elite. Given Vincent Astor's role as one of Fulco di Verdura's patrons, it comes as no surprise that Mrs. Astor's collection is filled with jeweled delights from the designer. The naturalism of the 'rosebud' brooch and 'leaf and flower' bracelet recall his days with Flato, while the streamlined mix-and-match 'ribbon' bracelets show his playful side. In 1940 Vogue proclaimed that "any jewel that Verdura touches becomes a more interesting jewel;" the jewelry in Mrs. Astor's collection exemplifies this statement as the beauty of each piece is enhanced by its uniqueness.

An excessive 1960's coral necklace by VAN CLEEF and ARPELS

This coral necklace with a huge tassel and matching ear clips was made by Van Cleef and Arpels in the 1960's. It represents very well the flavour of the jewellery during those years; bold designs and semiprecious stones. The demi parure belonged to Brooke Astor and it will also be part of the auction held by Sotheby's NY on september 25th.

Van Cleef and Arpels particularly favoured this style and there are several combinations of similar compositions, like one below, made in the 1970's.

A VAN CLEEF and ARPELS Mughal inspired CARTIER

This is a good story... In 1947 Barbara Hutton commissioned a necklace-tiara to Cartier with seven exquisite emeralds that belonged to Grand Duchess Vladimir. Cartier had purchased the stones in 1919 from the Grand Duchess when she escaped Russia and later had sold them to Edith Rockefeller McCormick. Cartier purchased the emeralds back in 1935 upon the death of Mrs McCormick and sold them to Barbara Hutton for more than one million dollars. The stones were initially set in a pair of earrings, a ring and a sautoir but Miss Hutton asked Cartier at a later stage, to design a Mughal inspired necklace to hold them as pendants. She sold the necklace to Van Cleef and Arpels in 1967. The necklace was identical to the one featured above except for the pearls. In 1967 Van Cleef resold the emeralds in another piece and in 1972 they sold the necklace above (signed and numbered) to Brooke Astor. The piece will be auctioned by Sotheby's NY on september 25th.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Auction Highlight: SOTHEBY'S NY presents the Estate of Brooke Astor

Sotheby's NY will be auctioning 900 items form the estate of Brooke Astor, one of New York's most notorious socialite and collector. And of course there are some magnificent jewels.

Perhaps the most relevant piece is this necklace made by Bvlgari in 1959. The story f the piece is fascinating, as explained by Brooke Astor in her autobiography (1980). The diamond and emerald necklace and earrings were commissioned during a trip that she and her husband made to London in autumn 1958, when Vincent Astor discussed and selected the stones personally. He died during the spring of the following year and Brooke did not know anything about the piece. It was almost two years later when she received a letter from the house of Bvlgari with the details of the pieces as well a note from her husband asking for the delivery to take place in March for Brooke's birthday. She then completed the purchase and regarded it as the last personal gift from her beloved husband!.

The necklace is set in platinum with 13 drop emeralds that weight approximately 71 carats, 14 cabochon emeralds weighting 41 carats set next to 14 marquise diamonds (8.5 carats) and surrounded by some 50 carats in brilliant cut diamonds!.

Investing in Antique Jewellery | Homes and antiques

Collectables: What Should I Start Collecting?

Collecting can often start as an unconscious decision, with individuals gravitating towards objects and valuables that they think are attractive. Over the course of a few weeks, months or years, the number of chosen items grows into quite a collection and before long, people realise that their passion for collecting has made its mark. Whether they’re trying to find the right jewellery collection or can’t resist buying pottery pigs, every shopping trip offers the excitement of finding a new addition. There comes a time, however, when people may question ‘what should I start collecting?’ and it’s at this time that some important decisions need to be made.

For some people there may be an obvious choice of collectibles, especially if collections have already been started without much thought. If this is the case it’s often important to try and define a collection, so that, in the future, complimentary pieces can be bought. For example, instead of collecting all the pottery pigs that can be found, people might like to collect pigs by a certain potter, of a particular type or from a specific era. This can help stop a collection getting out of control, and enables people to create a unique set of valuables which are inspiring, rather than hundreds of pieces which don’t necessarily complement each other.

Some people come to collecting as novices and want to start the hobby from scratch. Trying to decide what to collect can be difficult at this initial stage, and it’s important to make the right choice. What to collect should be very personal, and it’s important to make the decision depending on personal preferences, rather than trying to become involved in collectibles that simply don’t cause any excitement or thrill. There’s no point trying to collect valuables that hold no interest, as collectors will simply find that their passion starts to wane and they end up with a half-hearted attempt. Instead, a collection must enthral and excite a collector.

The ideal place to start when thinking about what to collect is to consider interests and passions, and find a complimentary collectors niche. For instance, movie enthusiasts could collect memorabilia from their favourite films, or merchandise and valuables that are connected to famed actors. Car enthusiasts might like to start a collection of model cars, or even the real thing if money is no object. Meanwhile, brooches, stamps or work by a favourite artist are all great ideas for collections.

Starting, creating and building a collection is a very personal thing. It can take a lot of time and money to get a collection really worth talking about, and people spend many years looking for rare memorabilia or pristine pieces of art to add to their valuables. Collectors should always look to start collecting objects because they like them, instead of choosing pieces that hold no interest other than the possibility to make a future fortune. And, by being smart and savvy when it comes to building a collection, collectors can indulge in their passion and create collections that will inspire others for years to come.

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

CARTIER retro brooch and bracelet combination

I could not resist writing about this piece!, a 1940's bangle set with three detachable clips in yellow gold and diamonds made by Cartier. It is a cute bracelet and I particularly like the "convertible" ideas, I find them fun; however what has made this one really special for me is the fact that I have one flower brooch exactly like the big one but set with sapphires! and signed Cartier London instead of Cartier Paris...
The bracelet above is coming up for auction tomorrow at Sotheby's NY

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

CARTIER citrine and ebonite mystery clock

Clocks that do more than just tell time have fascinated connoisseurs for centuries. Singing bird boxes, automatons, and Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin’s pendules mystérieuses captured the imagination of an eager clientele in the nineteenth century. It would take another century before clocks again achieved a similar level of inventiveness. In the second decade of the twentieth century, Louis Cartier collaborated with Maurice Coüet to create clocks that seemed to defy natural laws: the hands moved without any visible operating mechanism. Called mystery clocks, these new inventions mesmerized viewers. Although there was no scientific mystery behind how these clocks worked, there was an artistic magic in the ingenuity and craftsmanship that created the optical illusion. The clock hands were set into transparent rotating discs with toothed metal rims propelled by gears in the clock case. These intricately made clocks took from three to twelve months to complete by as many as six or seven skilled craftsmen. They are considered the apogee of Cartier’s work during the 1920s and 1930s.

The dials on most Cartier mystery clocks are rock crystal; only a few examples incorporate citrine. Citrine has the same see-though quality as rock crystal, but on this clock its striking coloration counterbalances the surrounding turquoise chapter ring and ebonite frame. Rose-cut diamond florets soften the linearity of the design. The clock is in the shape of a Japanese screen and the yellowish tones of the citrine recall the gold-leaf decoration on many such screens.

This clock was formerly in the collection of Anna Thomson Dodge, wife of Horace E. Dodge, co-founder of the Dodge Brothers Company. Her mansion Rose Terrace in Grosse Point, Michigan, housed a collection of European art and antiques, many of which were given to the Detroit Museum of Arts. Other pieces can be seen at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. One of the first single-axle mystery clocks produced by Cartier, this clock is a testament to the time in which it was made and to the connoisseurship of the person who owned it. It is truly one of the masterpieces of Cartier’s Art Deco period. It will be presented by Siegelson at the Paris Biennale. 

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A SCHLUMBERGER coloured fish brooch

Undoubtedly, one of the most accomplished jewellers that Tiffany has ever employed was Jean Schlumberger. In a similar fashion to Verdura with Chanel, he started his career designing costume pieces for Elsa Schiaparelli before moving onto fine jewellery. Having been born on the same day, he is one of my favourite masters; his initial passion was drawing but his family tried to convince him to become a banker and he did, but lasted only a year. When he joined Tiffany's in the mid sixties, Jean designed the famous "Tiffany Diamond setting" and was given total freedom to produce his colourful and original ideas. Elisabeth Taylor was one of his fans (together with Jackie Onassis, the Duchess of Windsor or Audrey Hepburn) and the brooch above reminds of the all diamond one that she wore for the Night of the Iguana. This one is set in yellow gold with pink sapphires and green tourmalines with two cabochon blue sapphires and a coral straw. It will be auctioned by Sotheby's New York on September 20th.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Grand VERDURA pieces coming up for auction in NY

Sotheby's NY next auction on September 20th will include a small number of pieces made by Twentieth Century Jewelry legend Fulco, Duque of Verdura. He became famous for his groundbreaking designs and the use new materials like shell or ebony. For some the fact that he was born in 1899 on the cusp of Palermo's Golden Conch probably marked his destiny. Despite all his travels and living most of his life abroad, first in Paris working with Coco Chanel and later in New York, Fulco always sought inspiration in his Sicilian background, either in its colours and light or in its local motifs and history. His cuff bracelet with maltese crossed set in precious or semiprecious stones are probably his trademark pieces. The brooch above is set in gold and palladium with rubies and diamonds and it was made in 1944. The cuff bracelet below is made of black jade and the gold maltese cross is set with an amethyst, peridots, diamonds and pearls.

Before embracing a career as a jewellery designer, Fulco had a short but very intense life as a nobleman socialite right after he recovered form a First World War injury at the age of seventeen. With little money of his own he joined a group of similar youngsters and for a couple of years he devoted himself to enjoying and discovering as many characters as he could find within the circuit of the social season around Lido in Venice. He forged friendships with the likes of Coco Chanel, american publicist Elsa Maxwell or famous song writer Cole Porter that were to have a huge influence in his professional success later. Perhaps as valuable as those connections were the wealth of experiences and anecdotes that he collected and which surely were to be a strong influence for the inspiration of his designs. For example, he met Rasputin's supposed assassin Felix Youssoupov and his wife Irina who used to wear a single earring with a large drop pearl which happened to be the famous Peregrina, later acquired by Richard Burton as a gift for Liz Taylor!.