MASTERPIECE LONDON JEWELLERY HIGHLIGHTS 2018

Once again I have a craving for exceptional jewellery, so I’m on my way to the Royal Hospital Chelsea to find a cure! And I won’t be alone. Because it’s that time of year again when 160 exhibitors from all over the world unite in one place to showcase their rare works of art, design, and jewellery. MASTERPIECE LONDON 2018 is one of my favourite art fairs and it attracts a glamorous crowd of collectors searching for fine works of art from antiquity to modern day pieces. The entire event is as exciting as Frieze London, although a little less edgy, but full of unexpected discoveries and one-of-a-kind pieces you won’t find anywhere else.

With so much to see, the event can be a little overwhelming (in a good way). So to help you get the most out of Masterpiece London, I put together a video of my jewellery highlights on Instagram TV or IGTV.

I was excited to see some extraordinary contemporary jewellery by some of the world’s leading designers like the new carbon fibre collection from Fabio Salini, revealed for the first time at the fair. But my first stop was The Art Jewel by Taiwanese fine jewellery brand CINDY CHAO, whom I discovered last year during Paris Couture Week when she showcased her Black Label Masterpieces and White Label Collection. Let’s not forget the internationally acclaimed Simon Teakle who joined the fair this year. You know you’re in for a few delights when Teakle is in the house! Of course, I have to pay my respects to some heritage pieces and some of my beloved brands like Verdura  and Belperron. You have to watch my highlight video to see the sparkle and magnificence of these beautiful jewels.

Just before I got to the jewels, I was met by the brilliant and unseen works of Marina Abramović and her mesmerising Five Stages of Maya Dance. A celebrated performance artist, Abramović sculpted five alabaster self-portraits that cleverly play with light and angles to reveal a haunting display of emotion and what seems to be the decay of the human psyche. You can see it up close in my IGTV video.

VERDURA

VERDURA has a long and enchanting history studded with stars and enviable collaborations like the one forged with Coco Chanel and Duke Fulco di Verdura in 1920s Paris. Verdura designed a pair of Maltese Cross Cuffs for Chanel that have become an iconic piece of jewellery and one that has been reimagined again and again over theyears. Remember the Theodora Cuff I reviewed? Well this time I’m trying on a pair of Ravenna Cuffs.

Originally created for Coco Chanel, the Ravenna Cuffs have not seen the light of day for 80 years. Chanel was never without a pair of Verdura Cuffs and was often captured in photos wearing her favourite Maltese Cross Cuffs, one on each arm. She felt naked without them.

The Ravenna Cuff makes a statement of wild abandon with bold splashes of colour imagined in contrasting green tourmalines, tanzanites, aquamarines and amethysts, set in a style of unrestrained order. When I slipped on the beautiful Ravenna Cuffs, I was instantly transported to 1920s Paris and the beginning of this remarkable jewellery brand.

In 1939, Duke Fulco di Verdura arrived in New York and opened up a boutique on Fifth Avenue, thanks to the generous support of his friends Cole Porter and Vincent Astor. New York’s best dressed took to Verdura immediately and his amazing creations were worn by style icons like Diana Vreeland and Babe Paley, as well as some Hollywood screen legends Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich.

Over the course of his lifetime, Duke Fulco di Verdura created nearly ten thousand designs of jewellery that are still referenced today. His designs are extraordinary and his bold but understated “chic” is celebrated by collectors and jewelry lovers.

Today, The Ravenna Cuff is making a comeback and is part of the Verdura collection, “Breaking Away” The Quest for Color. The collection is inspired by Verdura’s archive of designs and 1930s Paris when colourful gems and yellow gold replaced the popular platinum and diamond duo. Verdura created The Ravenna Cuff in a Byzantine style that was colourful and bold and followed an unexpected and contradictory design palette. It was a style that shook the jewellery world and made everyone sit up and pay attention.

The cuffs are available in either ivory coloured or black enamel using unique and limited production color combinations. You can get a real sense of the weight and sparkle of these breathtaking Ravenna Cuffs in the highlight video on my GEMOLOGUE IGTV channel.

HERZ-BELPERRON

It’s hard not to admire Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) as one of the most influential jewellery designers of the 20th century. Not only was she widely recognized by the likes of Elsa Schiaparelli, the Duchess of Windsor and Diana Vreeland, she was a pioneering master jeweller and the only female of her kind at the time. After working with jewellery designer and engraver Boivin in 1919, Belperron hungered for a new and arrestingly modern aesthetic that was sensual and tactile.

This piece inspired by the archives of 9,200 designs, made me feel young and sophisticated and slightly edgy! There’s no denying Belperron’s sense of modern style or mistaking her signature style.

FABIO SALINI

I met the charming Fabio Salini for the first time at Masterpiece and was lucky enough to capture a mini-interview for GEMOLOGUE IGTV. He’s a true standout in the jewellery world and I’m happy to welcome him to London’s jewellery scene with his upcoming showroom opening (date to be announced!)

If you want to see his exquisite and unconventional designs, watch the interview; it starts at 7:00 minutes in.

Here’s a brief introduction to the designer who is turning the jewellery world on its head. Salini has a degree in gemology (his thesis was on emeralds), and an impressive history of working with the great maisons Cartier and Bulgari. He launched his first collection in 1999 and opened his atelier in the historic centre of Rome in 2004.

His passion for jewellery transcends all conventions, and he has an experimental style. By marrying organic materials with precious gems, Salini challenges our notion of jewellery and what is valued. His collection Fabio Salini per Fernando e Humberto Campana, shown in my IGTV highlight video, combines organic materials like straw and bamboo with gold and diamonds. Salini likes to experiment with different materials and has worked with rock-crystal, leather, silk, stingray, titanium, bronze, copper, resin and carbon fiber.

The interplay between tradition and innovation takes centerstage in Fabio Salini’s creative world. I have to say, he attracted the most stylish clients at Masterpiece!

SIMON TEAKLE

When you work at Christie’s for 20 years like Simon Teakle, your name becomes a household name in the jewellery industry. A gemmologist whose hands have touched some of the world’s most remarkable gems like The Agra Diamond and The Rockefeller Sapphire, Teakle has seen jewels worn by Eva Peron, Doris Duke and Elizabeth Taylor.

Teakle has the kind of vision that jewellery collectors from around the globe seek out; he never disappoints. Just take a look at this royal diamond pendant that I was lucky enough to try on. Worth $3.3M, this royal diamond pendant (circa 1850, approx. 22.50 carats) has a magnificent pinkish hue. The centre stone blossoms out of a petal pavé of diamonds set in silver and gold leading out to a chain of diamond leaves. This type of IIa pink diamond, according to the GIA report, is historically discovered in the Indian region of Golconda.
Wow! You have to see how this gem sparkles. Watch my highlight video on GEMOLOGUE IGTV, and I’ll tell you the provenance of this stunning pendant!

This carved ruby necklace by Marchak also caught my eye and as soon as I slipped it on, I felt elegant. I wasn’t the only one to be attracted to this beauty, everybody had to stop and admire this gorgeous ruby and diamond bib necklace. Of course, a woman likes to be admired and jewellery is the answer!

Notice the intricate design of this necklace. Not only are the carved rubies extraordinary, but look how the spray of ruby leaves and flowers sits on a rope of gold and a diamond ribbon that wrap and weave around each other like the dance of lovers. Set in 18kt gold and platinum, this ruby and diamond necklace comes from Paris circa 1950.

Micro mosaic jewellery is another fascination of mine, so I was particularly attracted to the intricate detail in this ring. So charming and feminine.

This antique micro mosaic is a “Giardinetti” ring (circa 1830, valued at $7800). The plain 18kt gold beagle mount is a good choice that doesn’t compete with the oval mosaic panel within.

DIDIER

From the antique to the contemporary, Didier offers a refreshing perspective with their jewellery created by leading 20th century painters, sculptors, designers and architects. It’s one of Valery Demure’s favourite places to shop for jewellery.

Didier and Martine Haspeslagh showcase their eclectic line of jewellery in a gallery setting in Kensington, where they moved in 2010. Specialising in artistic jewels, the gallery plays host to some surprisingly unknown jewellery creations by the modern masters and designers from the late 19th to the end of the 20th century. The Didier collection sets an intimate and personal tone, showcasing wearable sculptures that were commonly made as gifts for family and friends. From the great canvases to the miniature, jewellery offered these artists a new dimension to work in. Like Alexander Calder said, the wearer became a ‘living work of art”.

I was drawn to this ring by Dali. Love the tiny ruby nails.

This masterpiece can be worn or shown! You can see the brooch, Orgasmaplode, in my highlight video!

CINDY CHAO THE ART JEWEL

From one artist to another and The Art Jewel by CINDY CHAO. I was incredibly excited to see this collection. The first time Cindy Chao showcased her jewellery at the Masterpiece London Art Fair, she won the Peony Brooch, a Masterpiece Award for one of the most “Outstanding Exhibits.” Walking into this “outstanding exhibit” was like stepping into a museum. There was an air of reverence that reflected Chao’s belief that every piece of fine jewellery is a miniature work of art.

The Black Label Masterpieces and the White Label Collection by CINDY CHAO were among my favourite fine jewellery discoveries last year at the Ritz during Paris Couture Week 

To see her incredible new collection, The Art Jewel – watch my highlight video on GEMOLOGUE IGTV.

 

I would love to hear what you think by leaving me a comment below. Thank you!

SHOP MY FAVOURITE JEWELRY ONLINE:

I am extremely happy to announce that my new jewelry book – GEMOLOGUE: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips – is now on Amazon. I’m so excited. It’s the first book of its kind solely dedicated to jewellery. 

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GEMOLOGUE by Liza Urla is a celebration of fine, fashion and vintage jewellery featuring exquisite global discoveries, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews.

GEMOLOGUE jewelry blog by Liza Urla is featuring talented jewellery designers, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews. This jewellery blog’s goal is to encourage and educate about jewellery online in a fresh and original fashion to inspire women and men across the globe in a fashion and travelling context.

Jewellery blogger, writer Liza Urla, the founder of GEMOLOGUE, is a London-based and NYC-educated gemologist, who has travelled to and lived in many countries. She is now one of the most influential digital jewellery tastemakers. Her jewellery influence has been acknowledged by Financial Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

*Photographed by Julia Flit. Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.

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