Some of my favourite jewels from this year’s show
Earlier this week I was thrilled to have been in London for Masterpiece, one of the world’s most exclusive art and antiques fairs. An annual event since 2010, the fair is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in a specially constructed marquee with the facade of a red-brick Georgian building. The sleek and modern interior accommodates approximately 150 exhibitors, Scott’s Seafood & Champagne Bar, and fine dining restaurants such as The Ivy Chelsea Brasserie, and Le Caprice.
It’s estimated that over a billion pound’s worth of fine art, antiques, jewellery, and antiquities are offered at the fair, giving it the feel of a luxurious museum where everything is for sale.
As I walked through the red carpeted entrance there were no doubts in my mind that soon I’d be gazing upon the crème de la crème of jewels.
Wartski, the London dealer specialising in Russian works of art and particularly those of Carl Fabergé, never fails to disappoint with its selection of period jewellery.
The photo below shows a brooch in the form of a cicada c1900 by Frédéric Boucheron, the delicately-executed wings with plique-à-jour enamel work.
A multi-gem pendant brooch by Gustave Baugrand drew my attention for its bold 19th century Egyptian-revival design. Centred with a rock crystal panel and enamelled portrait of a goddess and set with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, the lower border set with carved emerald scarabs. Paris, c1865.
One of my favourite pieces with Wartski this year was an enamelled pansy plaque-de-cou by René Lalique, seen on the righthand side of the photo below. I imagine that this exquisite piece would have formed the central part of a choker-style necklace and perhaps been held in place by ribbon.
After a rejuvenating glass of champagne it was time to move on to Symbolic and Chase. Their exhibition area is darker, which gives it something of a nightclub ambience, with artfully-lit cabinets containing many important pieces of jewellery.
I simply adore pearl necklaces and soon found one to covet – the natural-coloured double-row pearl and diamond necklace in the photo below.
Many visitors to Symbolic and Chase were drawn to an emerald, pearl, and diamond sautoir incorporating an historic 114 carat vivid yellow diamond, by JAR, Paris. The yellow diamond is currently the largest certified old-cut cushion-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond known in the world. It was formerly in the collection of Countess Rosario Zouboff, and auctioned by Christie’s in 1962.
In summary, many of pieces of jewellery offered at Masterpiece this year rivalled those held in the collections of leading museums around the world. Masterpiece really is an event not to miss.