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Saturday, 24 November 2012

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.