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Friday, March 3, 2017

TEFAF Maastricht's High Jewelry Preview

The Verdura and Belperron exhibition space at the 2016 TEFAF Maastricht 

Prior to my first trip to Maastricht last year to attend The European Fine Art Fair (more commonly known as TEFAF) I wrote this: “Everyone who’s been there (Maastricht) tells me it’s really nice.” 

None other than Camille Oostwegel Jr., director of Business Development of the Oostwegel Collection, a group of luxury hotels and restaurants in Maastricht area, read this. In fact, while giving the group of journalists I was with a tour of his properties, the impeccably dressed and polished hospitality professional made it a point to memorize our names ahead of time, read our work and present each of us with a personalized hand-written letter based on what he read. For my note he made a point to say that he hoped I would agree that Maastricht is really nice. 

Dinner at Chateau Neercanne during TEFAF Maastricht 2016

Yes Camille, the picturesque medieval town surrounded by waterways and rolling hills is very nice, much nicer than I expected and I had high expectations. It’s made for strolling, which I did every chance I had, and it has more cultural activities than a town of its size should be allowed to have. 

Your properties and restaurants we toured are exceptional as well. You don’t know this, Camille, but I was in Amsterdam when the crown jewel of your restaurants, Chateau Neercanne, celebrated 60 years of Michelin Star excellence. I saw you accept the special recognition from the Michelin Star organization. I still remember the wonderful meal we had within the colorfully lit interiors of the 17th Century castle and seeing the signatures of those who signed the Maastricht Treaty (the document that created the European Union) embedded into the old castle walls. 

The signatures of the Maastricht Treaty document inside Chateau Neercanne

But I digress. 

This is supposed to be a preview of the upcoming high jewels at TEFAF Masstrict. The world renowned art, antiques and design fair will be held March 10 – 19. Among the 275 dealers and designers from 20 countries there will be contemporary high jewelry artists, a couple of internationally known high jewelry and watch brands and dealers of antique and period jewels. Among the best are the following: 

Birth and Blossom Earrings by Wallace Chan

Wallace Chan is a favorite of JNN. Not just because he endorsed this publication but because he is among the most creative and technically sound jewelry artists in the world. And, he too is an extremely hospitable and open person. His pieces are reported to sell for upwards of tens of millions of dollars (he never talks price) and for good reason. One way he separates himself from his peers is that he does nearly everything himself. He’s a master gem carver and one of the early adapters to using titanium for jewels. He often develops his own techniques and builds his own tools to make his creations. 

Among his new pieces for the show are the “Birth and Blossom Earrings.” Chan hollowed out two pearls and set inside them diamonds and sapphires in a colorful spiral arrangement. Titanium stems reach out and sprawl downwards, depicting the growth of a magical blossom with pieces of conch shell turned into petals, echoing the pearls’ smooth texture. The pistils are surrounded by diamond sparkles. Dangling underneath the flowers are two pieces of green emeralds, totaling more than 30 carats. It is both an accurate depiction of nature and an imaginative artistic creation. Meaning it’s typically Wallace Chan.

Hemmerle bangle

Hemmerle, known for using traditional and unorthodox materials to create artistic bespoke pieces, has new set of wearable art for TEFAF including a bangle crafted out of sapphires, aquamarines and aluminum presents that are inspired by the ornamentation seen on the capitals of columns of the 2,000-year-old temple of Karnak in ancient Egypt.

Otto Jakob Xuanas

The self-taught German jewelry artist, Otto Jakob, creates art in miniature inspired by Etruscan, Celtic and Hellenic masterpieces. Among the items he will be displaying is his 2016 creation, Xuanas, which consists of yellow gold casts of St. John’s Wort petals, the ovaries made of white gold, set with micro pavé diamonds and surrounded by stamens and pollen grains covered with dark red enamel.

The Verdura Medusa ring

Ward and Nico Landrigan, the father and son team that owns the historic brands, Verdura and Belperron, will be exhibiting antique pieces and those recreated from the original drawings of the famed mid-20th Century jewelry artists, Duke Fulco di Verdura and Suzanne Belperron. 

The Belperron Congo Cuff

Among the pieces are the Verdura Medusa Ring made of gold and ruby, created during Verdura’s 1941 collaboration with Salvador Dali; and the Belperron Congo Cuff, made of ebony wood and 18k gold. 

Reza Délhéa necklace

The Place Vendôme high jewelry house, Reza, will return with its well designed and crafted gem-focused jewels. Among them is the Délhéa necklace featuring a 30.34-carat yellow cabochon Ceylon sapphire, a 5.76-carat Troidia Brazilian emerald, 11 yellow oval cabochon sapphires, 103 princess-cut diamonds weighing 16.17 carats and 28 brilliant-cut, diamonds, all set in white browned gold. The necklace converts into a bracelet.

Cleef & Arpels Édaillons necklace and Etoiles earrings

The Parisian luxury jewelry house, Van Cleef & Arpels, will present its delicate artistic creations that include “Édaillons necklace (1968) and Etoiles” earrings (1971) featuring round diamonds and sapphires with cabochon-cut turquoises. The motifs and the association of precious and hard stones reveal an Indian influence. The necklace is transformable and can be worn in a shorter version with a matching bracelet. 

Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike

Swiss luxury brand, Chopard, will be exhibiting jewelry and watches. Among them is the L.U.C. Full Strike, which strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on transparent sapphire crystal gongs. The 42.5 mm case is made of Fairmined rose gold and an open worked dial. 

Chopard emerald ring

One of Chopard’s premiere jewelry pieces for the fair is a ring in a flower motif set at the center with a 19-carat heart-shaped emerald within colorful overlapping gemstone.

The Spencer family tiara

There will be a number of antique jewelry dealers. Among them is Hancocks. Within the 100 or so items being exhibited by the London firm is an Edwardian diamond tiara that belonged to the Spencer family. It was given to Lady Delia Spencer, great aunt to Princess Diana, by her father the 6th Earl Spencer, on her wedding day on February 18, 1914. Set with more than 800 old cut diamonds, estimated to weigh a total of 48 carats, the tiara can be transformed into a choker necklace and bracelet.

Enamel fringe necklace

Another London mainstay, Wartski, known as specialists in the works by Carl Faberge, will include a gold and enamel fringe necklace by highly collectible jewelry artist, Giacinto Melillo of Naples, circa 1875.

Enamel archaeological style bracelet 

Dutch antique silver and jewelry firm, A. Aardewerk Antiquair Juwelier, is also featuring a work designed by Giacinto Melillo: A gold, pearls and enamel archaeological style bracelet is designed, circa 1870. Seven heavy, square panels are joined by gold hinges with semicircular end plaques. Each panel is decorated with motifs in the Etruscan style executed in fine granulation and wirework with applied florets. The reverse of the plaque is decorated with a four-petal motif in applied wirework. 

Gold and diamond earrings, circa 1870

Véronique Bamps of Monaco, who specializes in European and American jewels, will present a cross section of jewels from many periods, including these gold and diamonds earrings, circa 1870. 

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