Monday, 28 May 2012

WALLACE CHAN: Magnificent earrings

It is with good reason that Wallace Chan is considered the JAR of Asia. He uses titanium as main metal for his pieces and only best quality stones. He is first an artist but also a master jeweller; not only are his creations unique but also do not resemble anything seen before. A genius.

Two pair of earrings are coming up for auction at Christie's Hong Kong, the one above set in natural pearls and diamonds in an incredible colour combination. The one below is set in jadeite with pear shaped diamonds and tsavorite garnet details.

A pair of Art Deco Sculptures by CARTIER!

These are two rare sculptures made by Cartier in 1925 depicting the branches of a Japanese apple blossom. They are set in gold using stained ivory and enamel for the main branches and cabochon moostone in the flowers. The bases are made of agate.

They will be auctioned by Christie's Hong Kong on May 29th
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Notes from the Catalogue
"During the first decade of the twentieth century, Cartier created objects of vertu in the Russian style. Card cases, powder boxes, cigarette cases, and paper knives were just a few of the items, but perhaps the most fanciful were sculpted animals and flowers. According to Hans Nadelhoffer inCartier: Jewelers Extraordinary," ... in 1916 Vogue wrote of 'Cartier's dainty hothouses in which fairy-tale trees with gold and silver trunks sprout leave of jade.'" In some of the more inventive examples trunks were sculpted out of ivory as exemplified by these two apple blossom branch sculptures.

The arrangement of each flower or plant in Cartier's naturalistic repertoire was influenced by the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement, ikebana. Superb examples are the apple blossom branches that are each created with a stained ivory branch sprouting flowers. Also indebted to Japanese models were the individual calyxes detached from the plant and lying on the ground as seen on both arrangements where moonstones have fallen from the branch to the base as well as onto the floor of the case. Capturing the flower as it begins to fade illustrates the Japanese depiction of nature in its transitory state.

All of Cartier's flowers and trees were housed within glass cases that not only kept the piece free of dust but also positioned the sculpture as a work of art. This pair of apple blossom branch sculptures epitomises the ingenuity and superb workmanship of this venerable house."

BVLGARI: Extravagant master of colour

If I had to pick one image to define Bvlgari's style, it would probably be very similar to this one. An extravagant necklace set in yellow gold with three semi hidden rows of cultured pearls and a centre motif of geometrical design set in calibre cut rubies and emerald with a magnificent cabochon central emerald. The matching ear clips are a repetition of the central design. Bold, compact, excessive. It could not be more 80's, it could not be more Bvlgari.

The demi parure will be auctioned by Christie's Hong Kong on May 29th.
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Sunday, 27 May 2012

A rare Art Deco Clock inset with Kingfisher feathers by CARTIER

Art Deco clocks are sought after and treasured by collectors, specially the ones signed by Cartier which normally achieve up to ten times their price estimate when they come up for auctions. The one above is one of the rarest examples that I have come across in years. The clock box is set in yellow gold with Nephrite and a push down agate button, yet it is the dial what makes it so exceptional, it is inset with Kingfisher feathers and rose cut diamonds. It was made by Cartier around 1927.

It will be auctioned by Christie's Hong Kong on May 29th and the catalogue reference to the use of Kingfisher feathers is too good to miss!

"For thousands of years many cultures have used bird feathers not only for their beauty as decorative accessories, but to denote status, wealth and royalty. The use of kingfisher feathers as inlay for decorative objects such as jewellery, headdresses, panels and screens can be dated back as early as the Chinese Han dynasty, in 206BC, when craftsmen experimented with alternative media to gemstones.

The poet, Ch'en Tzu-ang, describes how kingfisher feather ornaments were desired by elegant women:

"The halcyon kingfisher nests in the South Sea realm
Cock and hen in groves of jewelled trees
How could they know that the thoughts of lovely women
Covet them as highly as gold?"

Translation by Paul W. Kroll

The process of preparing and inlaying the feathers requires much time and precision. Sections of kingfisher feather are carefully cut to specific shapes and sized to be set in a specific arrangement by hand with a light adhesive so as not to affect the delicate appearance and iridescence of the feathers. This technique originated in Canton, where it was called 'tian tsui', which translates as 'dotting with kingfishers'. The effect has a similar appearance to cloisonn enameling.

A collection of Chinese artifacts, including kingfisher feather jewellery, was presented at the London Exhibition of Chinese Art in 1936 at Burlington House, inspiring much interest in Europe. The production of such fascinating artifacts came to an end as a high art form after the Chinese Revolution in 1940, and as a result have since become highly valuable due to their rarity.

In an extract from Mrs Marco Polo Remembers by Mary Parker Dunning, she records her travel experiences of 1908 and describes the process of inlaying the feathers:

"I bought a kingfisher pin the wonder worker, a patient, spectacled Chinaman, takes a single hair from out of the bird's wing, draws it through a bit of glue and lays it on the silver foundation. Then another hair, which he lays beside the first. Then another and another and another, endlessly and headachingly and eye-tiringly, until he has laid the filaments from the feathers of the bird's wings so closely together that they look like a piece of enamel."
[Mary Parker Dunning, 1968]"

CFJ GALLERY: George Fouquet Aquamarine Art Nouveau Brooch

This is an extraordinary finding for any Art Nouveau collector. The brooch, made by George Fouquet around 1901, is designed as an open plaque (reminding the famous Les Trois Crabes) with a suspending drop aquamarine. It is made in gold and enamel and set with green tourmalines and aquamarines.

Available at Hancocks, view details

Thursday, 10 May 2012

More JAR in Christie's Hong Kong!

Discovered by the Jewelry Loupe!
Season of JAR: a connoisseur’s approach to gems

Who bought Liz Taylor's Krupp diamond?

Luxury jewelry demand soaring in emerging markets - BNN News

A 1940's bracelet by Suzanne BELPERRON

This is great bracelet made by Suzanne Belperron for Groene et Darde between 1941 and 1945. It is set in platinum with diamonds and calibre cut sapphires featuring a central circular cut diamond. The design is amazing and the quality of the craftsmanship even better. Suzanne Belperron was a pioneer not only for her talent but also for being one of the few women in that 1920's that worked and achieved deserved recognition for it. This piece, which belongs to the collection of Mrs. Lily Safra, will be auctioned by Christie's Geneva on May 14th. Coincidentally, Sotheby's Geneva will be auctioning her private jewellery collection on the same day. A true tribute to this brave figure!.

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Monday, 7 May 2012


So much has been said and written about this fabulous diamond that I will just try to summarise a few data points to remember:

It's first record dates back to 1610 when it belonged to Maria de Medici who wore it in her coronation as Queen of France. At the time it was considered the second largest diamond in the world after the Sancy. It has gone form Royal Crowns to pawnbrokers and back a few times and its lineage includes the Royal Houses of France and Navarra, England, Scotland and Ireland, and Prussia.

The Beau Sancy weights c.35 carats, it is a type Illa diamond from the Golconda mines in India and it features a double faced rose cut design.

It will be auctioned by Sotheby's Geneva on May 14th
View catalogue notes

JAR...and Mrs Lily Safra: The movie!


"As a major patron of the arts and a collector in many fields, Mrs Lily Safra was naturally drawn to the work of JAR, considered by many as one of "the" jewelry artists of our time. Their creative friendship, based on a shared aesthetic sensitivity and sense of perfection, began in 1981. Using materials as diverse as white and colored diamonds, natural pearls, emeralds, sapphires and rubies, combined in the unique JAR style with tourmalines, garnets, colored sapphires, amethysts and rubellites, Joel Rosenthal explored color and form to create unique and extraordinary jewels for Mrs Lily Safra. The imaginative design and quality of craftsmanship makes each piece a true work of art, the result of the special collaboration between a collector and a designer who were united in their search for the very best."

Christie's Catalogue
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Sunday, 6 May 2012

CHAUMET: The Murat Tiara

This extraordinary tiara with a foliate design set in diamonds was made by Chaumet in 1920 for the marriage of Prince Alexandre Murat with Yvonne Gillois. It would be another magnificent piece with great design, provenance and excellent craftsmanship and gemstones but the three natural pearls make it exceptional. The centre one weights 303.97 grains (75.84 carats) and the two on the sides weight 121.19 and 120.90 grains respectively. To put this in perspective, the famous Peregrina pearl that was recently sold for more than $11.8 million weights 203 grains.

Prince Alexander descends from Joachim Murat who married Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister. An inn-keeper's son from Gascony, his brilliant military and political career granted him the ruling of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily until he was publicly executed in Calabria. Prince Alexandre's father, Joachim, married Cecile d'Elchingen, the descendant of Marshal Ney, one Napoleon's highest regarded generals. Cecile inherited a huge fortune from her adopted grand-mother (Madame Furtado-Heine) and the family lived in grandeur amongst the European royal families for many decades.

Chaumet had been selected to supply all the jewels for the marriages of the family for two generations and he was selected for this one as well. Their designs at the time fell under two categories, romantic traditional and contemporary chic. It is interesting to note that the design chosen for this piece was classical and majestic and did not follow the modern Art deco trends of the time. However, even Vogue in 1920 praised the tiara. Chaumet also created a bandeau which could be adjusted under the tiara to give it extra height and importance.

This piece will be auctioned by Sotheby's Geneva on May 14th

View catalogue details

TEMPLIER: rare Art jewels

A jewelry master always combines perfect craftsmanship, impeccable design and excellent choice of gemstones to create the most beautiful form of adornment. These are the elements of Haute Joillerie. Yet, some makers go one step further and elevate their work to an artistic level. They introduce a subject-matter and the aesthetics of their pieces are connected to the artistic trends of their time. For them, jewellery is just another mean to express their views and challenge their contemporary artists. Raimond Templier belonged to the latter. He approached jewellery like Duchamp, Matisse or Picasso approached painting. He created masterpieces, but for him the most important thing was to convey his message, his analysis of how society was changing and the impact that machines and manufactures were having.

The brooch above is an exceptional example of the Abstract trend in Art Deco during the 1930's. The balanced design of the two circles represents ying and yang and the concave surface of the platinum element reflects the light of the diamonds one. As in life, it is the contrast that makes one complete.

It will be auctioned by Sotheby's Geneva on May 14th together with two other rare examples of Templier's Art Deco.

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