【Int’l】Jewellers Set Up Shop at London’s Art Fairs

Contemporary jewellers are turning to fairs like Pavilion of Art and Design and Frieze as alternative distribution channels to fashion retailers to woo collectors and design-conscious consumers alike.

Mayfair is especially buzzing at this time of year. The international art crowd flock to the Pavilion of Art and Design in Berkeley Square before heading north to Regent’s Park for the Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters. Increasingly it’s not just midcentury furniture or 17th-century Dutch portraits they’re seeking, but also contemporary jewellery.

Jewellery galleries have exhibited at PAD since its inception in Paris 23 years ago. At PAD London, now in its 12th year, this has increased from five jewellery exhibitors in the first edition to nine this year, four of which are new to the fair. The spotlight has shifted from “artists’ jewellery” — wearable pieces created by artists, a genre that dates back to the 1940s and ’50s, when the likes of Calder, Picasso and Dali began experimenting with precious metals — to contemporary jewellers whose one-of-a-kind pieces are recognised as art in their own right.

PAD’s increased focus on collectible jewellery this year “highlights the links between art, design and jewellery,” says Patrick Perrin, the fair’s co-founder. “There is a lot of crossover between art collectors and jewellery customers: both are seeking refined objects with the highest level of craftsmanship that tell timeless stories.”

Art and fine jewellery intersect in a literal way at the stand of Suzanne Syz, the Swiss-born jewellery designer who is herself a prolific art collector. Her pieces this year include ultra-light titanium earrings featuring enamelled recreations of Andy Warhol paintings.

Every exhibit at PAD is subject to a vetting process by the Objects Admissions Committee who ensure that they are accurately described. Independent jewellery specialist Joanna Hardy is one half of the vetting committee for jewellery, tasked with making sure each piece is “fairworthy.” The inclusion of jewellery within the context of an art fair has a positive impact on the industry, she believes. “Jewellery has always been a poorer relation in terms of appreciation of its design and execution. Fine art has an academic side to it that traditionally jewellery hasn’t had, but that’s changing by putting more jewellery in an art environment.”

Unlike fine art, wearability is a concern for jewellery connoisseurs. This has held it back from being appreciated as an art form, believes Valery Demure, founder of the eponymous PR and sales agency who was one of the newcomers to PAD this year. Her Objet d’Emotion stand exhibited one-of-a-kind pieces by 11 contemporary female jewellers, the likes of which are rarely picked up by wholesale fashion retailers.

“Jewellery is considered more as an accessory, or clothing, but the level of artistry in certain pieces matches that of fine art,” says Demure. She points to Monique Pean, who uses fossilised dinosaur bone and chunks of meteorite alongside diamonds and gold. “They are groundbreaking in their use of materials and design. Of course she wants to sell it but there’s a complete creative vision behind it,” says Demure.

Auction houses too are embracing the art world’s interest in fine jewellery. Christie’s, which has always offered a private sales service for its clients, boasts an intimate jewellery salon within its King Street headquarters, while Sotheby’s Diamonds, the contemporary jewellery boutique that’s a joint venture between the auction house and diamond cutter Diacore, opened on Bond Street last year. Both auction houses have hosted selling exhibitions by contemporary jewellers.

Taiwanese high jewellery artist Anna Hu exhibited at Christie’s last May, and later this month Sotheby’s will host the first UK exhibition for Parisian maison Edéenne. Edéenne takes a literal approach to jewellery as art: among her creations is an extraordinary display of diamond butterflies set en tremblant to flutter when anybody passes by. Hidden among them are a diamond cuff, necklace and pair of earrings: proof that jewellery really can be considered “wearable art.”


For full article, please visit Beyond Picasso: Jewellers Set Up Shop at London’s Art Fairs by Business of Fashion.

(2018/10/4, Source: BOF)