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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!