Results tagged “jewelry”

From Feb 18th until July 4th (sorry, you've probably missed it)the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (the NYC branch of the Smithsonian Institute) has had a large exhibit of jewelry by Van Cleef and Arpels (previously mentioned) entitled Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels. As I've tried once before, this will be a review of the exhibition which I was able to attend last weekend.

First of all, the collected works are fantastic, from the coronation jewels of Princess Grace through the many pieces commissioned by the Duchess of Wales to their current works, a massive cross-section of VC&A's work was on display, probably more then in any one place before. The exhibit itself was separated into 6 areas, each with a theme, a more sensible way to organize the jewels then by date or by material. The themes were somewhat vague to cover all the pieces, but useful conceptually: Inovation, Transformation, Nature, Exoticism, Fashion and Personalities (a catch-all for pieces owned by famous customers). These tied into various associated displays, including a video of the mystery setting in the innovation room, pre-production sketches in the Transformation room and photos of celebrities in the Personalities room. The entire exhibit was labeled by number, everyone got a guide book on entering which provided all relevant information, a much better solution then what would have been an excessive number of captions for the displays.

The display of the jewels was not all that satisfactory. The pieces were mostly set as a long row on a table, which made for moderately good traffic flow, but the cases were problematic. Some were single cases with the all the pieces, but most were smaller domes with a few pieces. These, for some baffling reason, appeared to be blown glass and were rife with irregularities that distorted the view of the pieces. The guards were also very insistent that one could not lean or even place the guide on the tables, which made getting a close look an excise in careful balance. The occasional nose-print testified to failures. There were also some baffling displays, like the illusionary ones based on parabolic mirrors that caused the piece to appear to float at the table surface, but also dimmed and distorted it due to the poor condition of the mirrors. As has become common with this sort of exhibit, photography was prohibited.

I don't wish these complaints to give the impression that I didn't enjoy it a great deal, it would have been worth the trip by itself, but such small changes could have made it much more enjoyable.

ps yes it is pathetic how overrun by spammers the website is, it looks like no care was taken to secure it at all, nor has anyone from the museum bothered to look at it since it was launched.

Since 1956 Van Cleef and Arpels (mentioned a bit before) have held the distinction of "Official Supplier to the Principality" of Monaco.  For the recent wedding of Prince Albert Princess Charlene, they created a convertible tiara->necklace with the theme "Ocean", in tribute to her past as an olympic swimmer.  It's primarily diamonds, including some pear-cut stones at about 4 ct, and several shades of Sapphire.


They've even put together a brief video explaining some of the design elements


They're not the original to the core of Christianity in the way they've become, only coming into play in the 5th century and appearing in their common form in the 6th, but the Seven Deadly Sins are firmly rooted in popular culture, from Dante's Inferno to the movie SevenStephen Webster(previously mentioned), who fancies himself something of a bad-boy when it comes to jewelry design, released a collection of rings on the theme late last year.

Envy, in the classic green
Gluttony, kind of a disturbing piece with your finger always going into, and out of, the grimacing teeth
Greed, using more metal then embelishments
Pride in full peacock splendor
A stone reclining on a ottoman of Sloth
Hands clenched at the throat of Wrath

Though all the designs may not be to my taste, these are impeccably executed and show a cleverness of design that, for most of them, is not at the expense of function. I can think of many contemporary designers who could have taken these concepts and done them neither so artfully nor with such technical skill.



Importance of Posing

Sometimes a good photo layout can avert blandness.  Neither of these pieces is very interesting alone, but together there's some interest


The ring(left) and broach(right) are gold, set with Tsavorite, Toumaline and Peridot by Georland


Delfina Delettrez in 2011

Delfina Delettrez (previously mentioned) is a young somewhat avant-garde jeweler working in Paris, and she's released some new pieces for 2011. I was not a fan of many of her recent works, but these are more interesting rather then just intentionally shocking, and I am liking them more. The display models for the first earrings and necklace betray her former style

Collier necklace in gilded silver set with 2 large baroque pearls"Roll-in-stone" earpiece in gold and pearl

Maintaining her interest in non-standard subjects, though returning from the absurd (skeletonized Michael Jackson,for eg), is this beehive necklace, with amber set in a silver hive and small worker bees.

The earrings and matching bracelet use the rather simple construction of the gimbel to create an interesting articulated design, with a pair of large irregular pearls set in the earrings

"Concentric Rings" earrings, set with large Tahitian pearlsTourbillon (whirlwind) bracelet in silver

If you're interested, Paris Joaillerie has two short articles on her works in their back archives, from October 2008 and March 2008



Marchak and Mink

Several months back a local jeweler hosted a display of French artisan jewelers.  Since they forbade photography there, I was unable to provide anything in the way of images from the event, but I've been tracking down some secondary information on the brands on display.  Here's the first, Marchak.

The original Marchak was founded in 1878 in Kiev by Joseph Marchak, and by the revolution had nearly 150 employees. Like many industries catering to the upper class, they left and by the mid 1920s has reopened on the Rue de la Paix in Paris. The brand grew and prospered through the mid 20th century, but faltered, and finally shut down in 1987 after the death of the Jacques Verger, the head designer.

In 2003 the dependents of Joseph, some still bearing the Marchak name, re-trademarked it and began working towards a reborn Marchak. A few years back they released a collection of animal-themed broaches, interesting but quite traditional in look. The following three butterfly's and octopus give a good sampling of their work. The use of unusually shaped stones for the butterfly wings is quite interesting, though somewhat common in Amber, like on the Isadora Ambre.

Isadore: Materials unknownIsadore Ambre: Chrysoprase and amber
Flamboyant: Diamonds, sapphires and tourmalines set in white goldOctopus: Diamonds, sapphires, acquamarine and a large Baroque pearl set in white gold

Nature, and animals in particular, play an important role in Marchak's collection, of the 7 pieces featured on their website at the moment, 5 are animals. The color gradient, as seen in the blue stones of the octopus, is a theme that they will continue using in their newer pieces.

From their newer pieces, some of which I've seen on display, there are a few worth noticing. Like many of the reborn watch companies, the new Marchak is trying to emphasize their connections to the historical company. One example of this is the Douze Mois (Twelve Months) collection, named after a play written by a cousin, Samuel Marchak, in 1960. This collection of twelve rings, in lacquer and diamonds set in gold,are the same, but for the hue of the lacquer, each one attempting to represent a specific month. The collection is presented in a box in a traditional Russian lacquer style, from the village of Palekh.


Drawing from the animal world again is a the Princess Grenouille (Princess Frog) in moonstone, spinel, chrysophrase, garnet, sapphire, emerald and diamonds (phew). This sort of lifelike small animal sculpture was very popular in late Czarist Russia, Faberge did a celebrated collection for Edward the VII.


The final piece is, I think, a fantastic use of an usual material for jewelry. This bear's head pin is in gold, diamonds sapphires and mink. It may not be the best example of craftsmanship in their collection, but was, at the exhibit, the most looked at and admired. A pity it retails for approx. 5,000€


(Picture sources: the first 4, the next 3)


Baptiste Monvoisin "Jewelry"

Another of the strange jewelers of Paris, this time working in a very Post-Modernist style, is Baptiste Monvoisin (who's name translates roughly to "My Neighbor").  He is primarily a metalworker, with stones being a rare addition, usually highlighting the gold or silver design.  Some of his works clearly take aim at the common tropes of jewelry, like the brilliant-cut diamond, such as the Pop-Art or Diamond rings below

Pop-Art ring in yellow and white gold and black diamondsDiamond ring in silver

Others show a strange dental interest, such as the Molar ring, or the broach in the form of chewed chewing-gum.

Molar ring in yellow goldChewing-Gum broach in pink gold

Using Hipster "Irony" as source he has taken the inexplicably popular trend of intentionally-pixelated art to its logical conclusion is the "Pixel" ring in sand-blasted gold, quite an interesting surface treatment. Along with that is the Mustache cufflink in white gold.


He has some other interesting pieces, including a hand-grenade based on a large Tahitian pearl and a hospital-bracelet rendered in pale yellow gold, but one of the more amusing pieces, conceptually, is this ring, the Bijoux de Famille in yellow gold


All pictures are from his website.


Someone new: Valérie Danenberg

Valérie Danenberg* comes to the world of jewelry honestly, her father is an art dealer and her mother sells antique jewelry in the Louvre des Antiquaires in Paris.  After getting a diploma from the Institut National de Gemmologie, and spending 20 years selling antique jewelry, she has recently opened a boutique on the Left Bank selling her own designs.

From this initial collection come a pair of pieces entitled "Beauty and the Beast" (oddly enough the press release has the name in English, despite the text being entirely French otherwise).  The ring is yellow gold set with rubies, diamonds and tzavorites (a type of bright green Garnet), while the necklace is rose gold and silver set with tzavorites(the eyes) and garnets (the dark-red of the antlers).  Frankly the necklace looks like a prop from some sort of Deal-with-the-Devil movie, but perhaps that's just might look less malevolent on someone.


The rest of the collection consists of three pairs of earrings. The so-called Monnaie du Pape (Pope's Money) and Summer Dream consist of the same filigree pattern overlaid on a semi-precious background, mother-of-pearl in the case of the Pope, turquoise for Summer. The use of the design, offcentered and asymmetrically cut off is quite interesting, though the names seem to have little relation to the design. The final pair is a nameless feather design, quite reminiscent of Art deco designs such as Boucheron (see a feather design) or more probably Lalique, as Valérie's mother collects their work.

Monnaie du PapeSummer Dream

( source )

* Her website seems to be down for a redesign at the moment

Boucheron Spring/Summer 2011

For the spring/summer of 2011, Boucheron (frequently mentioned before) has another collection of animal themed pieces, the Cabinet of Curiosities. With one exception, these are more common animals then the frogs, snails and elephants that have populated their recent works. This exception is the secret watch, named Khepri, which consists of a scarab(duh) with wings of engraved Lapis Lazuli, emerald eyes and an onyx head.  The bracelet and rest of the main section is covered with white diamonds.

Besides that piece, and a sea-shell shaped broach, called Cyprus, in multi-colored sapphires, diamonds and large white pearls, the rest of the collection are rings.


Of the rings, I think the most interesting are "Nuri" and "Nutkin" (seriously), seen below. Both are done in white gold set with white diamonds and multi-colored sapphires. The parrot has a 4.5 ct blue sapphire as a central stone.


In white gold are also the rings "Pegasus" and "Cyprus". The horse is set with blue and violet sapphires and white diamonds, while the bird is mostly black sapphires with a few diamond accents


The final two rings are not in white gold. "Jamal" is a camel, done in yellow gold, with a >6ct Madagascar sapphire for his hump. The "Flamingo" is in rose gold, set with red and black sapphires as well as diamonds


All in all not a bad collection, and the squirrel and camel (especially that odd little smile) add a nice touch of humor, but nothing really interesting or new...



Chanelling the Orient

Chanel has announced some new jewelry pieces for their Spring 2011 collection, the Secrets of the Orient.  Like everything they seem to produce, this comes "from the universe of Madmoiselle Chanel", in this case from her collection of Oriental folding screens.  In total 28 pieces in 7 themes represent "the Oriental civilizations of Persia and Russia via Venice and Isfahan"

First we have a pair of Persian pieces, a bracelet and a pair of earrings. Though unmarked on the press release, I believe these pieces are tourmaline (pink and green) as well as emeralds and diamonds set in 18kt yellow gold.


Another matched pair are these Mosaic pieces, a necklace, and an interestinly assymetric pair of earrings. The pieces are white gold, set with rubies, pearls, emeralds and either pink sapphires or tourmalines.


Finally a pair in white gold and diamonds (white and fancy). The broach is named Camélia Dentelle (Camelia lace), and set with a single large pearl, while the necklace is simply named Venetian. I can't help but see the broach as "the worlds most expensive pasty"


( all pictures from Paris Joaillerie )


Van Cleef & Arpels at the Cooper Hewitt

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (that's the full name, don't wear it out) is hosting an exhibition of Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry, watches and other objects d'art from February 18 through June 5, 2011. 

Amoung the pieces on display are displays of dazzling technique, such as this gold box in semi-precious and precious stones from 1926(Left) and a Camargo broach, in platinum set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds from 1942 (Right).  For the simply dazzling, it's hard to beat a platinum and gold diadem, set with diamonds for Princess Grace, from 1976 (Below)



My favorite piece from the promotional pictures is this bell-push, set with an enameled gold and silver boat(1908). The body is ebony while the massive wave is carved from a single piece of jasper.

An interesting pair of broaches are also on display. One is recent, from 2004, a Japanese-inspired butterfly (Right). The wings are wood with Maki-e laquer, a Japanese technique for layering lacquer with gold dust, and the body is gold set with diamonds. The other is from 1971, a bird-shaped broach in gold carrying a 95ct briolette-cut fancy yellow diamond and set with sapphires and more diamonds. It was once owned by Ganna Walska


There are plenty more pieces in the exhibit that I may post later on
(Pictures from Paris Joaillerie, except the bird broach from the CH website)

Cartier Kitties, Year 2

Last year, about this time, Cartier put together an ad campaign based on a Panther kitten.; They have revived the campaign as The Winter Tale, with a bit more of a seasonal (read Christmas) slant, but no less cute overload

This seems to be the title-page for the campaign, since there are no actual products depicted

Some ladies wallets and a Baignoire watch, a design from the early 20th century
cartier_panther_bagnoire.jpg A mans Ballon Bleu watch, pen, cufflinks and some leatherwork
all pictured from Cartier's site


125 years of Bvlgari in Paris

The Italian Jewelry/Watch house of Bulgari celebrates its 125th birthday this year (previously mentioned ) and is currently showing 600 pieces at the Grand Palais, in Paris.

Among some of the highlights

Yellow Gold choker set with rubies and diamonds and blue enamel (1975)Broach with cabuchon rubies and diamonds (1930)

Their serpent watches have been made for at least the last 50 years, and are an technical tour-de-force, both in the construction and in the enamel works. The watch face hides within the mouth of the snake, until the wearer opens the mouth to check the time

Bulgari also shows off their connections to the beautiful and famous

Emerald and diamond necklace once worn by Elizabeth Taylor (1962)Ingrid Bergman wearing Bulgari jewels in the 1962 film The Visit



Jeweler != 3D-Artist

I've posted Lorenz Bäumer's excellent jewelry before, and I cannot complain about his work in that sphere, but his work in digital renderings leaves much to be desired.  I understand the desire to use renderings to promote unfinished pieces, the watch brands do it all the time, but put some effort into it!

I was all set to like the Mikado ring design, it even reminds me of a recently finished house that I liked, and then I saw the full size image. I know getting specular surfaces to render properly is not trivial, but every edge has that "I just hit the render button in AutoCAD" look


Once I saw it there, it was almost impossible not to see the same sort of digital artifacts in a piece I'd have probably not noticed but for the horror, the Toi et Moi ring.


For someone who's got the weight of Chanel and Louis Vuitton behind him, you'd think he could find a 3d artist....

(pictures from Paris Joaillerie)

Dali Jewelry

Less well known then his paintings, photographs or even perfume bottles are Salvador Dali's Jewelry designs. Here Madelle Hegeler poses with several pieces: a solid-gold hand, lips set with rubies opened to reveal pearl teeth, a corset ring and the "eye of time" watch, worn as a monocle. The pieces were designed by Dali and constructed by Carlos Alemany, a Argentinian silversmith, under Dali's supervision. These pieces can now be seen in the Teatro-Museo in Dali's hometown of Figueres, Spain

(picture source)

Another piece he made is the "Grapes of Immortality" on display at the Dali house in Portligat. It consists of emeralds and amethysts set in gold with small diamond accents.


(picture by Frank Courtney )



Claiming inspiration from Jean Cocteau, Delfina Delettrez(previously mentioned) has released a small collection of jewelry patterned after bits of clothing: a tuxedo collar, a hair bow or my favorite, a french cuff, complete with a cufflink

The piece is rather nice, but I've cropped down the original promotional picture, since the disembodied hand was just a bit too creepy otherwise. More pictures are available from the same source, Paris Joaillerie, and the pieces can be seen and purchased at Colette in Paris.



Boucheron (previously mentioned) has released their second(the first was with Richard Mille) collaboration piece with a high-end watch maker, this time going with Max Büsser and Friends (really that is the name).  This piece is based on their HM3 "Starship" design, itself built around a custom GP-based movement. The two "bumps" tell the time, with the left-side being hours (a 24 hour display, so it indicates night vs day) and the right being minutes. A date wheel runs around the large window that reveals the self-winding rotor

HM3HM3 Movement

The new pieces use the same movement and case design, but rotated 180 degrees, so the crown is at the bottom, and the two bumps, now the eyes, are at the top. Boucheron has had some owl-themed pieces in their collection for the past few years, but nothing quite like these. The first piece is white gold, with carved amethyst for the center stone and the two cabochons covering the hour and minute bumps. The case is set with blue and purple sapphires.

Jwlrymachine in WG (33.WATL.B) FrontPurple Jwlrymachine profile

It will also be made in rose gold with a rose quartz breastpiece and rubellite "eyes", set with multi-colored sapphires.

Jwlrymachine in RG (33.RQTL.B) ProfilePink Jwlrymachine front and back

All these pictures are from MB&F's website, and they have super-high-resolution ones if you're interested.

I think these pieces are much less sucessful than the RM/Boucheron collaboration. To me the watches are just a scaffolding for a completely Boucheron look. MB&F's aesthetic, whatever you think of it, is usually very distinctive, and I feel it has been lost here.


Tiffany and Yellow Diamonds

Tiffany and Co has signed a deal with the Ellendale diamond mine in Australia to get first choice of their yellow stones. As a result, they've been creating a collection of jewelry based on the stones, and showing off the Tiffany Yellow, the largest cut yellow diamond in the world at 128ct set in the Bird in the Rock broach, by Jean Schlumberger.



Bender's Bling

Denis Chan is a the designer behind the Chinese jewelry hose Qeelin. In the past he's given us vaguely Chinese designs (articulated pandas and lotus stems). This time as the first members of the concept collection C'C (Chan's Collectibles), he presents 5 different jeweled robot pendents in a collection limited to 38 pieces.
These are all done in 18k gold, of various colors, set with white and black diamonds and multicolored sapphires. The smaller pieces have articulated arms and legs.
NB: All the names below are mine Click on any picture for a larger version

Girl with moonstone breastsGimp without articulated arms (i think) but the gears turn
Boy with yellow diamonds in the torsoLost in Space with socketed arms
The largest of the collection, Big Blue is an enlarged version of Boy with the dial on his chest opening a pair of tiny doors to reveal the gears, possibly that turn, inside.

And finally, a family portrait

(all pics from Paris Joaillerie)


Piaget's Limelight New York and Paris

The Piaget Limelight collection (previously referenced) is one of the cores of their jewelry line, and has been in production for many years. Back at the end of 2008 they released several pieces under the marquee "Limelight Paris-New York", though the connection to the current pieces is tenuous at best.

The following pieces are all designated part of the Paris side of the collection. First a pair of Montres à Secret (hidden watches). The design for both seems to be based on a pattern of leaves, larger realistic leaves act as the doors covering the watch face with more abstract leaves around them.. The first one, entirely in white diamonds, is using the fashion industry as a thread to connect New York and Paris. It mimics the flow of a ribbon with the crossed leaves of the watch dial taking the place of a bow. The band manages to use the variable shape and size stones to excellent effect, bulging as the "ribbon" goes away from the dial and around the wrist.

The second of the Montres à Secret is harder to place in the "Paris-New York" category, but impressive none the less. A double watch, it has a pair of leaves which each open independently to reveal a watch dial, one in white diamonds and one in yellow, each with a contrasting stripe on the main leaf. The bracelet consists of 5 rows of somewhat irregularly shaped and colored diamonds, perhaps to echo the cobbles of Paris?

More easily connected to the themes of Paris and high fashion is the Corset-themed pieces of the collection. A cuff-style watch set with 1576 white diamonds, though quite massive, manages to leverage the lacing to remain somewhat delicate and build an unusual three-dimensionality.

On the wrist of a model it manages not to be overwhelming, though the presence of that gigantic ruby ring does provide some counterweight.

The stand-out piece of the collection is clearly the superb corset-themed necklace. From the front it resembles a choker, though with three diamond drops, nicely done, but by no means exceptional. The band of the choker echos the lacings of a corset.

from the back, however, the true nature of the piece become evident, with the "lacings" of the corset dropping down past the bottom of the shoulder-blades, ending with a large oval ruby. Plenty of jewelry companies have long necklaces ending with set stones, even with similar rubies, but dropping the piece down the back, and with a pattern so associated with the back, is quite unusual and sucessful.

Pictures from Paris Joaillerie


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7  


Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID