Parisian jeweller and antique jewels dealer Lydia Courteille has always brought a sense of the strangely magnificent to her pieces. Be it the bright and bountiful colours of her Mexican-hued Xochimilco Garden collection or the blackened gold ghouls of her Black Mass in Paris pieces, there is something provocative and otherworldly in much of her jewellery.
With her latest collection, Homage to Surrealism, her skewed view remains gloriously intact, with dream and reality in perfect harmony. The Orleans-style skulls from previous pieces make a re-appearance here, but all seen through an eye that Salvador Dali himself would have admired. Colour has always been a highlight of Courteille's designs, and here we have bright pink lips with pearl teeth, offset by a tiny little skull. This isn't the Rolling Stones' latest logo, but something far more enticing. Although made of precious stones, the settings are such that these lips blush with colour and imagination. Likewise, the skull ring, surrounded by fruit, is an almost visceral explosion of the senses.
The Dali influence can be seen more overtly in Courteille's lobster earrings, echoing Dali's own Lobster Telephone from 1936. There's also the asymmetric 'men-trees', a spider pin with moonstones and a pair of bracelets, imbued with more than a hint of Egyptian inspiration.
As with all of Courteille's creations, the craftsmanship on display showcases materials both noble and varied: beads, antique charms, Mexican opals, orange sapphires. Blurring the line between dream and reality, her latest collection shows the true extent of her imagination and makes for a wholly surreal jewellery experience.