High times amid the high jewellery at TEFAF Maastricht

TEFAF Maastricht, the world’s greatest showcase of art, antiques and high jewellery, is back with a bang for 2016.

Wallace Chan My Dreams ring

Excitement is high among jewellery lovers as the opening of TEFAF Maastricht 2016 approaches. At the fair, which runs from 11-20 March, hundreds of exhibitors bring the best art and antiques on the market, but it is the high jewellery section that, this year, will set off fireworks that will light up the 30,000m2 space. Here is a sneak preview of some of the waiting treats.

Taking part are Chopard, Van Cleef & Arpels - returning after a gap in 2015 - Alexandre Reza, Verdura, Otto Jakob and, making its first appearance, Belperron. In addition, Hemmerle will be introducing a completely new collection inside a newly designed stand, which is at once alluringly mysterious and transparent. And Hong Kong’s spectacular poet-in-gems Wallace Chan will also be making his TEFAF debut. 

Theodora cuff with sapphires, emeralds and amethysts
To celebrate the 75thanniversary of the company’s foundation in 1939, Verdura released a deluxe limited edition of 200 black enamel cuffs modelled on Chanel’s originals. The cuff features black enamel, gold, and 31 cabochons cut gems including a 9-carat sapphire, 5-carat emerald and 5-carat amethyst.   

Duke Fulco di Verdura and Coco Chanel, like a couple of inspired delinquents, liked to break rules. In doing so they created long-lasting new ones. In 1930, when chic jewellery was made of white diamonds set in platinum, the duke designed a pair of cuffs for Coco in which large coloured gemstones set as a Maltese cross were pressed into enamelled yellow gold. For decades, Coco Chanel wore them everywhere - including the beach. In celebration of Verdura’s 75th anniversary, the Maison has produced a new variant: the Theodora cuff. These are a limited edition of 200 pieces, with a 9ct sapphire, a 5ct emerald, and a 5ct amethyst, along with other precious stones set in black-enamelled gold. 

Clematis aluminium, sapphire and diamond brooch
Hemmerle Clematis brooch from the AL collection, with sapphires and diamonds, and made from aluminium and white gold (POA).

While all Hemmerle pieces are original and take several years to make, the family-run company launches a complete new collection only every other year, and 2016 is it. As always, TEFAF is its chosen launch pad. The new collection features aluminium - strong but lightweight - which is touched with colours that harmonise or contrast with the coloured gemstones chosen for each unique piece. In all there are 15 pairs of earrings and one brooch, which is inspired by a clematis. The flower’s tightly packed petals are anodised to a pale purple setting off the purple sapphires and diamonds of its centre.  

The creative and technical ambitions of Wallace Chan appear to be limitless; his richly coloured, sculptural, gem-set pieces are literally as well as figuratively larger than life. Nature is often his inspiration, be it flowers, insects, fish, sea or sky, but some pieces are pure fantasy. The recent My Dreams ring, exhibited at TEFAF, is a Cubist architectural construction built of aquamarine, tourmalines, lapis lazuli, tsavorite garnet and pink sapphires. It is a castle in the air, but portable. The lucky owner of this high jewellery ring will have her dream castle with her wherever she goes, even in her sleep.   

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