Transcript| 16 jun 2014
Maria Doulton: Masterpiece London, the art, antiques and design fair, runs from the 26th June to the 2nd July. Now in its fifth year, it is becoming a destination for jewellery lovers because among the statues, art and paintings, is an exciting and careful curated selection of exceptional jewels and watches both old and new, all of which are for sale. I've had a little time to look at what will be on display, and here is what I think are some of the most exciting pieces on show.
I always head straight for Siegelson, the New York specialist who focuses on rare jewellery and in particular fine gemstones and diamonds. This year I particularly like the 1926 natural pearl and emerald pendant by Van Cleef & Arpels. The graduated stones and elongated baguette diamonds add just that splash of emeralds that sums up the quintessence of Art Deco style.
For the first time, Jaeger-LeCoultre makes an appearance at Masterpiece and it has brought the Hybris Artistica collection of 12 outstanding timepieces that showcase its reservoir of artistic talent and rare handcrafts by embellishing some of its most famous models and complications. The Duometre à Grande Sonnerie is the most complicated watch in the world; reason enough to come and see it, and you might even be lucky enough to hear it strike the hours to the chimes of Big Ben.
One of the most intriguing and ancient jewels you will find here is this Ming dynasty cabochon ruby and natural pearl necklace at Susan Olleman's gallery, which specialises in early Oriental art.
Hemmerle, the Munich-based house that turns convention on its head in the most beautiful way, combines precious stones with more humble materials. These earrings feature large aquamarines, set into slices of jasper with concrete balls at the top, surrounded by copper and gold.
Adrian Sassoon is showing the work of an artist jeweller from Italy called Giovanni Corvaja, who challenges himself to create the impossible. His Golden Fleece headpiece uses the finest gold wire to create a fur-like material and it took this master jeweller and artist 2,500 hours to make.
Verdura, the house founded by the Duke Fulco di Verdura in 1939 with his friends Cole Porter and Vincent Astor, has long been making jewels for some of the most demanding and stylish women. Gabrielle Chanel wore a pair of cuffs made by Fulco di Verdura, and these new ones remind us of those Gabrielle herself wore. The mammoth ivory and black jade, set with diamonds, pearls and gold, form a Maltese cross.
London antique jewellery dealer, Symbolic & Chase, has a beautiful example of a rare Cartier Tutti Frutti brooch from the 1920s. After the Cartier brothers had been to India, they came back with amazing colour combinations. I would love that Boucheron lapis lazuli clock on my desk to gaze at hour after hour.
Another British brand at Masterpiece is Theo Fennell. This year, look out for a ring and necklace featuring emerald beads from Gemfields' mine in Zambia. The larger of the two weighs an impressive 65.3 carats. Showing his characteristic quirky sense of humour, Fennell's Stable Door cufflinks are for the horse lover who wants to keep his beast close to hand. Fennell can even personalise them with a hand-painted portrait of your very own horse.
Wartski, the London-based house that recently exhibited the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg, is known for its huge knowledge of all things Fabergé and offer a delightful group of Fabergé enamelled picture frames. They also have a cute pair of golden angels carrying a large diamond topped with a bright red ruby flame by Boucheron.
Fred Leighton of New York, known for vintage jewels from the Georgian era through to the mid-20th century, brings us this hauntingly beautiful Belle Epoque butterfly brooch that trembles with each and every move.
Closer to home and more recent is the work of Andrew Grima. The name is being carried on by his wife and daughter, Francesca. On sale are original pieces such as this gold lapis lazuli brooch or this tourmaline and diamond one. You will also find new designs by his daughter Francesca.
Bogh-Art, the Geneva-based jeweller run by four generations of the Boghossian family, are exceptionally skilled in finding innovative ways to set diamonds and precious stones. This Kissing Diamonds ring has an original construction, with a diamond set right inside the sapphire. The effect is stunning.
Suzanne Syz's Take it or leave it earrings are a humorous addition to Masterpiece and are made of enamel and diamonds that are skilfully crafted yet very light hearted.
So, these are my top picks for Masterpiece and don't miss it because this is like wandering around a museum, but you can buy everything.
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