April 2012 Archives

Auclert and Antiquities

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Paris has a new boutique in the heart of the jewelry quarter (the area around Place Vendome and Blvd. St Honere) with the opening of Maison Auclert on Rue de Castiglione Before opening his store Marc Auclert, the son of an antique dealer, worked in the jewelry department of Chanel (previously mentioned) and Sotheby's, and for DeBeers in Japan.

His speciality is something about which I have quite mixed feelings, incorporating antique, and sometimes ancient, elements into modern jewelry. The outcome is surprisingly good, considering the technique, but some of the original material deserved better then to be raw material for a Place Vendome jeweler. That said, here are the pieces, in no particular order. Unless specifically mentioned, assume that the modern work is in 18kt yellow gold.

Oh and a personal note to Auclert, or their PR firm: Thanks for the actual pictures of the actual pieces, so much better the the CGI that is sometimes used

Cufflinks Set with neolithic carved carnelian beads Pendents The decorative elements are gold plaques that originally decorated Chinese perfume flasks, dating from the 10th-13th century. They are set on silver-blackened leather with platinum fittings
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Bracelet The 18kt gold bangle is set with a pair of Menuki in the form of tigers. They were made by Teiji Goto (1603-1671). Necklace The chain is modern, but the pendent is a 1st Century CE gold roman spoon with a handle in the form of a goose (duck?). I can find no information if the bending of the spoon is modern or not.
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Earrings The artifacts are a pair of Menuki from the 17th century representing male and female dragons. They are from the Mino school of the 17th Century. Necklace The pendent is a pair of deer Menuki made in the workshop of Nagagawa Isho at the beginning of the 19th C.
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Pendent The main piece is a “cameo” done in Berlin Iron, circa 1805-1810. Berlin Iron was a side-effect of the Napoleonic wars, women would donate their gold to the Prussian state to fund the war and receive an iron piece in return. The dangles are polished ruby crystals. Ring Set with both a 1st C. BCE Roman carnelian intaglio and its impression, this piece is probably one of my favorites for the way it uses the original piece.
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If you have to ask, the prices range from 9,000-45,000 Euro.



Alligators and Cartier

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Peter Lippmann is a Paris-based photographer who was born in the US.  He's done quite a wide range of still-lives, from food to fashion to jewelry, and has had a long standing relationship with the Cartier Art magazine.  Magazine No. 14 features a photoshoot "Seduction", pairing the Cartier pieces with Alligators. It starts with a pair of gold and precious stone Alligators, which together form a necklace, that were commissioned by the early 20th century Mexican actress Maria Felix (previously referenced).  


The La Dona watch in 18kt gold is featured in the next two.  This model was inspired by Mrs. Felix, hence the connection with the initial pieces in the shoot.




No one so bitter as a lover scorned, the mockery (deserved) of Damien Hirst's Spot Paintings continues.  Here are a bunch of random facts about the series:

1. Hirst has made an estimated 1,400 spot paintings since 1986.

2. Gagosian's The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 contains over three hundred.

3. Hirst himself has painted five.

4. Hirst thinks those five are "shit." via

5. Rachel Howard paints the best spot paintings: "The best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel. She's brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel." via

6. Hirst is still making spot paintings, despite announcing he would stop in 2008. via

7. Hirst threatened to sue British Airways for copyright infringement after the airline used colored spots in an advertisement. via

8. Tensions with longtime patron Charles Saatchi boiled over when Saatchi formally exhibited a spot-covered Mini Cooper that Hirst had painted for charity. Hirst does not list this retrospective on his CV. via

9. Hirst has made an editioned "paint by numbers" spot painting kit, containing a blank canvas, numbered dots, and numbered tins of paint. These unpainted spot paintings sell for more than the painted ones, and they generally remain unpainted. via

10. The earliest paintings in the Gagosian show are in the Madison Avenue location because that location has "more of an old-master feel." via

11. An assistant once painted five yellow spots in a row. Hirst told him this was insufficiently random. "We had a big fight," Hirst admits. "Now I realize he was right, and I was wrong." via


Now with actual Indians!  The rights to the name The East India Company were bought up by Sanjiv Mehta, an Indian businessman, in 2005 and it is once again selling fine foods in England.  One of the more unusual things that comes with the name is the right to mint coinage, and they have restarted the minting of the Mohur, a gold coin whose name means "seal" and was used throughout the sub-continent.  In this case it's 11.66 grams of 22K gold, about 26mm in diameter.  The large emblem of the EIC is on one side and a lion before a palm tree on the other, a motif first seen on the first gold Mohur minted in 1835.


Caning My Dior

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In this it isn't the sort that of caning that Hermes used for their designs, but the sort that covers furniture in the Napoleon III style.  This collection, christened My Dior, is part of their ready-to-wear jewelry collection, with prices starting around 2,000€.  A representative piece is this cuff bracelet, in yellow gold set with colored stones.  Since the press release made no mention of the stones, I expect that they are Topaz, Citrine, Peridot and Amethyst, they'd have named the stones if they weren't semi-precious.  


If you're interested, they should be available in May 2012 from the Dior boutique in Paris.


Bug Bike

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From the Telegraph's Picture of the Day for April 12, 2012




As one of the many watches they released for the Year of the Dragon, Piaget (previously referenced) announced the Dragon and Phoenix watches earlier this year. Both are powered by their manually-wound caliber 56p, and have the watch face hidden within the 18k white-gold construction. The phoenix was added to the dragon to provide balance, the queen of the imperial couple with the dragon as king.

First the dragon, entirely diamond set with ruby cabuchon eyes. The left side shows the piece in the usual configuration, the right with the pearl open to reveal the watch


Closing off the dragon section, a closeup of the face

The phoenix has 300 baguette-cut diamonds (13.71 cts) and 603 brilliant-cut diamonds (5.77 cts) and 9 sapphires (4.19 cts). The dial and leaves are mother-of-pearl, or so says the PR, I don't see where the leaves are.

The first picture is of the watch in "closed" form, the second is open





With quite impressively quick turn around, the Etch-a-sketch people managed to use the recent gaffe by a Romney staffer to their advantage without picking a side in the political world...not the easiest needle to thread.


(Source, via)


April Fools Roundup

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Unicorn Cookbook found at the British Library

Antigravity archaelogical dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa

Vianney Halter and his Ocean Antiqua


Apple patents the rectangle.

Atlassian puts out Irkd, file bugs on the real world and reassign them

Google's Chrome Multitask mode
Screen shot 2012-04-01 at 9.40.03 PM.png
Kindergarten Cop, from the Criterion Collection


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