Sunday, 29 April 2012

Phillippe WOLFERS: Art Nouveau "haute joillerie"

This extraordinary Art Nouveau brooch with delicate enamel in an open work gold structure was made by Philippe Wolfers in 1902. It is set with a central emerald cut peridot and a pendant opal drop.

The maker is one of the artist/jewellers that populated the Art Nouveau scene in the beginning of the Twentieth Century. He is more comparable to Vever than to Lalique or Fouquet for he used precious stones. Philippe embraced the artistic trend and designed nature inspired pieces in yellow gold and enamel that broke apart from the "white jewellery" from the Belle Epoque period but he had a strong fine jewellery heritage. He was the son a Louis Wolfers, from Belgium jewellers Wolfers Freres who where appointed Crown jewellers to the Court. As such, Philippe was trained in excellent craftsmanship and the use of the finest stones. In a sense it must have been more difficult for him to join artists and bohemians and move away from the heavily traditional environment that his background was. He was one of the first jewellers to use Ivory and he created the Album Congolas as a commission to King Leopold II.

Between 1898 and 1905, Philippe moved his workshop to a villa in La Hulpe where he focused on studying nature and to create a series on 139 unique pieces that was called "Ex Unique" The brooch above is number 134 of the series and it was called "Huppe". He is much less known that his peers today because of the very small number of jewels that he made, but the collection definitely established him as one of the masters of the Art Nouveau period.

The piece was sold at Bonhams Bond St in London on April 25th
View lot details

AUCTION Highlight: Sotheby's Geneva presents a Superb Private Collection

The largest concentration of impressive jewellery since the Liz Taylor auction will take place next May 14 and 15 in Geneva; Christie's will auction the collection of Mrs. Lily Safra, including the famous eighteen pieces by JAR. And Sotheby's will host three auctions: the private collection of Susanne Belperron, a large magnificent jewels sale (with the famous historical diamond The Beau Sancy) and a "superb private collection".

The demi-parure above is probably one of the finest examples of Bvlgari's exuberant use of coloured gemstones in extravagant designs which has set the House apart becoming its distinct trademark. It was made in 1968 and it is set with emerald beads and cabochon sapphires, rubies and emeralds in five large clusters. The light is brought in by a number of brilliant cut diamonds cleverly spread around the design.

View Sotheby's lot details 

Friday, 27 April 2012

An Art Deco Cigarette holder by CARTIER

I could not resist to post about this!, As an unfashionable (and unhealthy) habit as smoking is seen nowadays, seventy years ago it was at the height of women's glamour and an absolute symbol of their incipient independency... and since one had to do it to be considered chic, no better way than do it in style with a Cartier cigarette holder. The one above is a great example, the long stem is made out of horn that finishes in an amber holder set with diamonds and sapphires in a minimalist geometrical Art Deco pattern.

It will be auctioned at Christie's London on May 2nd.

Friday, 13 April 2012

JAR in full flower: 18 rare jewels on the block

JAR in full flower: 18 rare jewels on the block by The Jewellery Loupe, great article!

VERDURA: Interchangeable maltese cuffs

To anyone following this blog it should be clear by now that I have a passion for jewellery but a special weakness for Verdura!.

These two pairs of cuffs with interchangeable maltese cross plaques are one the best known and symbolic pieces by which Verdura's designs are known worldwide. The plaques are set with cabochon sapphire and emeralds, half pearls and diamonds. The cuff bases are carved onix and cocholong.

Fulco Verdura was a creative genius that worked for Coco Chanel until he set up on his own in NY in 1934. He died in 1978 but in 1984 his brand and more than 4000 sketches were bought by Ward Landrigan and since then the firm has been bringing out newly made pieces selectively from their magical apartment on one of the Art Deco skyscrapers on 5th Avenue, right across Bergdorf & Goodman.

The cuffs above were made in 1985 and are being auctioned by Sotheby's NY on April 18th.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A rare Art Deco hinged bangle by CARTIER

I think this is the first time I come across a hinged bangle from the Art Deco period. Such an innovation could have only been made up by Cartier, the master of all masters...even today. Rigid bracelets were not introduced in Haute Joillerie until the second half of the Twentieth Century; before all were articulated chains; yet this one is dated in the 1930's according to Christie's. The old cut diamonds and the geometrical design avail the thesis and the elevated estimate leaves little room for doubt.

The piece will be auctioned in NY by Christie's on April 17th.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

CARTIER: Art Deco frames

Two incredibily delicate bejewelled frames made by Cartier, so rare to find!. The first one is set in nephrite and onix featuring small flowers set in cabochon turquoises and the second one is set in onix with rose cut diamonds and turquoise and ruby beads. Both pieces are mounted in yellow gold and platinum. They are dated in 1910 and described by Christie's as Art Deco, I would have said they are transition pieces as the flower motifs remind me of the Belle Epoque style. In any case they belong to the time when objects of vertu where common presents made of the most exquisite materials. These frames are true collectors finds and the second one even has my initials! ;-)

They will be auctioned by Christie's NY on April 17th.