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Monday, 26 March 2012

LEO DE VROOMEN: a 1970's upper arm bracelet


This is a great piece made by Leo de Vroomen in London in the 1970's according to its hallmarks. It is designed as two interlinked snakes made in gold with a fantastic cabochon pink tourmaline in the centre. The bracelet is imposing and huge as it is design to be worn in the arm between the shoulder and the elbow, clearly inspired by antique Greece and Rome. Maybe too daring today, must have been an iconic object when it was made.

It will be auctioned by Christie's South Kensington, London on March 27th.

The piece is beautifully made in such a detailed way that is very hard to find nowadays. Leo de Vroomen is a master goldsmith in the Repousse technique (Further read: Leo De Vroomen: Modern Jewellery Couture)

Art Fair Review: TEFAF closing


Great results, as it was expected. The financial crisis seems to continue driving wealth towards Art. In tune with the recent record prices achieved in auctions worldwide and with the ever increasing number of collectors entering the scene, the Fine Arts market is as healthy as ever for the very high end and exceptional pieces.

The two pendants I have chosen for the closing report were exhibited by London antique dealer S.J. Philips, they are both made by famous Spanish Art Nouveau jeweller Fusset y Grau. Both pieces came up for auction in London recently and CollectingFineJewels reviewed one! (see Flamenco Dancer)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A carved hard stone orchid brooch by PALTSCHO


This exquisite brooch is closer to a work of art than to fine jewellery. A great example of what this blog is about: finding rare and unique pieces of jewellery worthy to be part of a fine arts collection.

The brooch is designed as an orchid using carved carnelian for the petals and carved hardstone for the calyx which is set with cabochon sapphires and diamonds. It was made by Paltscho in the 1950's in Vienna. Erwin Paltscho was the son of a jeweller and a recognised Austrian designer during the middle of the last century. He was a gifted craftsman as well as an vanguardist trendsetter for a new wave of art jewellery makers in Vienna. Erwin was provocative and daring and he reached his height producing beautiful flowers that he had designed during the 1930's and 1940's. Erwin was also known for his cleverly hidden clasps which were copied later by jewellers around the world. He has been an inspiration and seed of ideas to many great houses like Van Cleef and Arpels. Despite being unknown to most of the public, Erwin became sought after by Royal Houses who commissioned numerous pieces that can be admired in museums. Today, his drawings are still in private possession.

The brooch will be auctioned by Christie's Amsterdam on April 18th.

CARTIER: Art Deco coral and onix jabot brooch


Very rarely does one come across authentic Art Deco pieces in yellow gold. Since the end of the Art Nouveau period and until the early 1930's all fine jewellery pieces were "white" set in platinum or white gold. The jabot brooch is exceptional for many reasons; for starters it is signed Cartier and dated 1925. It is also a great example of the geometric trend that would reign towards the end the period although made at least five years before it started. And, as every Cartier piece, it is made with the most exquisite materials and gemstones, coral and onix in this instance.

The property of an important American collector, it will be auctioned by Christie's NY on april 17th

Thursday, 15 March 2012

LALIQUE: Aquamarine dragonfly pendant


An amazing aquamarine and diamond set enamel pendant by Lalique depicting four intertwined dragonflies will undoubtedly be the highlight of Tefaf in terms of jewellery. The piece is being presented by fine antique dealer Epoque Fine Jewels, always one of my favourites in international fairs!.

Rene Jules Lalique, born in 1860, is one of the greatest glassmakers and jewellery designer of all times but he will specially be recognised as one of the symbols of Art Nouveau.

Lalique grew up in the outskirts of Paris and since very young he trained in design and drawing and even did an apprenticeship as goldsmith. He was always attracted by nature in all his forms and this would become the pillar of all his works and designs. In 1876 he moved to London to attend Sydenham Art College and on his return to Paris he worked as a freelance designer for CartierBoucheron and other jewellers. In 1885 he opened his own business with his own brand winning several prizes for his sculptures and art jewelry. He manufactured some of the famous jewels from Sarah Bernhardt.

He was not only one of the biggest contributors to the Art Nouveau movement but also achieved huge recognition from his Art Deco work. He died in 1945 but his firm continues manufacturing glasswork today.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

UPCOMING FAIR: Tefaf Maastrich


Tefaf is around the corner!, starting this week on March 15th. The above pendant is a magnificent 15th century Spanish piece brought by Deborah Elvira, one of the worldwide experts in medieval jewellery. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

An extraordinary Arts & Crafts OPAL pendant


During the second half of the 1800s until beginning of the Twentieth Century in England there was an artistic design trend very different from the glamourous Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements that were so admired in Continental Europe and North America; it was led by William Morris who was inspired by Ruskin. The main idea behind it was to revive traditional techniques as a reaction to machine made objects as well as to emphasise the materials used and rid the design of superfluous ornamental features concentrating on its basic functionality. The pieces from this period rarely use precious metals and stones and have a medieval look and feel.

The dragon shaped pendant above is a rare and precious example of the Arts and Crafts movement, the piece was commissioned by Annie Horniman in the 1920s  and is set in silver with cabochon white opals and garnets. It is one of the most sophisticate and elaborate examples that I have found from this period. It will be auctioned by Dreweatts on march 21st.