A piece of jewellery is often a piece of art. But it only becomes valuable when emotions are added to it.
For almost 40 years I have shared my passion for jewellery with you. It is a passion which through the years has never ceased to amaze and surprise me. The range of designs, styles, colours and techniques is virtually inexhaustible. In the past decades, I have seen my collection grow and change. During this time, the perception of jewels has expanded, and jewels have grown towards a broader acceptance as an art form. Important international artists such as Calder and Braque designed jewels in the 20th century. Moreover, Dutch goldsmiths lifted jewellery onto a higher artistic level during the 1960s. In reaction to this shift, several traditional jewellers started to cooperate with external designers. Cartier, for example, worked with Aldo Cipullo while Tiffany & Co. worked with Pablo Picasso’s daughter, Paloma Picasso. Besides, it is rewarding to notice that jewels these days are bought to be worn and not in order to be stored in a safe. This, in fact, is the greatest compliment: a jewel that is worn, frequently and with pleasure. In short, there is so much to experience in the realm of jewels. Let me accompany you on a journey through this world of designers, jewellers, gemstones and art trends. I dearly hope that this will bring the same joy to you as it does to me.
Index Micro-mosaic p. 12 Art Deco p. 15 Suzanne Belperron p. 21 Cartier p. 25 René Boivin p. 29 Georges Lenfant p. 37 The 1970s p. 41 Aldo Cipullo p. 44 Van Cleef & Arpels p. 53 Emmy van Leersum p.63 Contemporary Jewellery p. 65 Giampaolo Babetto p. 69 Michael Becker p. 71
Previous pages: A yellow gold necklace comprising eight oval micro mosaics depicting landscapes with figures and putti, made in Italy, ca 1800, connected by cannetille links made in the Netherlands, ca 1830. Provenance: Mrs M.J.J. Roëll-Kessler. Lit.: ‘Juwelen en Mensen’ by M.H. Gans, ill. no. 184.
Micro-mosaic This technique stems from ancient Roman times. Floors were laid with the most beautiful patterns and images; the most precious ones were found in Pompei. Later, Rome became the centre of this special technique. During the time of the Grand Tours (17th- 19th century), a visit to the origin of our civilization was an obligation for the European aristocracy. A piece of jewellery with a micro mosaic used to be a treasured souvenir from Rome. With the rise in tourism, the production of these mosaics increased. Unfortunately, this often led to a decline in quality. Micro mosaics are made from millimetre-thin strands of glass which are cut into minute pieces called tesserae. These tesserae are then laid in the form of images. The smaller the tesserae the more painstaking the work. On the other hand, the result is richer in detail and more refined. This impressive necklace consists of mosaics depicting classic images of landscapes and tableaus. It is exceptionally detailed. From a distance it is impossible to detect the inlay technique; the mosaic is so delicate.
The serpent is a universal symbol in many mythologies. Its skin, which renews itself, makes the serpent a symbol of fertility, rebirth and healing (Asclepius). The serpent biting its own tail forms a circle and as such serves as a symbol of eternity (ouroboros). 12
For centuries, the serpent has played a part in art and therefore also in jewellery. In this bracelet of the Parisian jewellery house Mellerio fourteen serpents biting their tails are connected, thereby forming another circle. Yellow gold with ruby eyes, made in Paris, ca. 1880.
ART DECO The Art Deco style owes its name to the World Exhibition of 1925 in Paris, the “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes”. Events like these served as a meeting point for arts, crafts and industry from countries all over the world and enabled a crosspollination of ideas and styles. After the 1925 world exhibition the term Art Deco became the official name of a style which is recognized by clean lines and geometrical patterns as well as bold, contrasting colours. Platinum becomes the most used metal for jewellery in this period. Even though it had been known for much longer, due to its high melting point it had been virtually impossible to form. The term is derived from Spanish and literally means “small silver”. It had the same colour as silver but as it used to be unmanageable it came to be considered less valuable than silver … Platinum is particularly suited for very fine setting: with little metal, gemstones can be set close to each other on a surface. This suited the Art Deco style extremely well: the platinum settings supported the rigid design. Like this, the most beautiful patterns and designs were created with gemstones. Hereby it also became a style with a timeless look, which still suits modern taste today. Opposite page: A yellow gold desk clock decorated with enamel, diamonds and blue sapphires, signed Cartier, made in Paris in 1920.
Art Deco jewellery 1. A pair of platinum earrings set with pink topaz and diamonds, signed Caldwell & Co., made in Philadelphia, ca 1915. 2. A platinum dress clip set with blue sapphires and diamonds, signed Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1925. 3. A platinum ring set with different cut diamonds, made ca 1920. Opposite page: A platinum diamond-set bracelet, signed Cartier, made in London, ca 1920. 1.
A platinum and white gold clip-brooch set with a flower carved from rock crystal, rubies and diamonds. The brooch can be worn separately or clipped on a bracelet. Made by Suzanne Belperron, Paris, before 1937. Previous pages:
Left: A pair of yellow gold and citrine clip earrings by Suzanne Belperron, made in Paris in 1956. Right: A yellow gold and citrine ring by Suzanne Belperron, made in Paris in 1956.
Suzanne Belperron Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) was one of the most influential jewellery designers of the 20th century. Her mother soon notices her talent and encourages her to apply to the art academy. She completes her training with a prize in the category “Watchmaking and Jewellery Decoration”. She moves to Paris, where, only 19 years old, she is employed by Jeanne Boivin, René Boivin’s widow. Suzanne is appointed as a designer at the jewellery house of the same name. In 1932 she leaves and starts to work under her own name. Both during her time at Boivin as well as under her own name her work quickly attracts attention: it appears in magazines and is worn by celebrities. Her jewellery is different: wearable and colourful. Even during the time of the rigid Art Deco her jewellery is more fluent and more feminine. Nature and foreign cultures inspire her. Almost never does she sign her jewellery: “My style is my signature” is one of her famous quotes.
Previous pages: A platinum and yellow gold ‘toi et moi’-ring set with diamonds and emeralds, signed Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1950.
Cartier The House of Cartier was founded in 1847 but turned into one of the world’s top jewellery brands with the introduction of the Santos wristwatch by Louis Cartier in 1904. Practically ever since that time Cartier has held this position. It still is the most well-known jewellery house in the world today. For decades, the boutiques on Rue de la Paix in Paris and on 5th Avenue in New York have been the “place to be” for jewellery lovers. For all these years, Cartier has been a forerunner and trendsetter. They are the designers of the famous “Tutti Frutti”jewellery and of the legendary “Panthère”-line. Nowadays, Cartier boutiques can be found all over the world. The designs sold there today are just as legendary and coveted as those of the early days of the jewellery house. Their popularity is most certainly also due to the quality of the jewels. The quality, after all, is still on the same high level as it always has been.
A platinum and yellow gold and diamond ring signed Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1980.
Previous pages: A yellow gold and diamond “Quatre Corps” ring, signed René Boivin, made in Paris, ca 1950.
René Boivin René Boivin establishes his atelier in 1890. Only around 1910 does his way of designing change: it continually becomes more artistic. As he dies at a much too young age, his wife – she is the sister of the influential fashion designer Paul Poiret – continues in the staked-out direction. Together with designers such as Suzanne Belperron and Juliette Moutard, the jewellery house keeps producing on a high artistic level. Maybe the reason that the creations of the House of Boivin have always been loved depends on the fact that solely female talents are at work. Throughout the years, the wearability of these jewels has never diminished. Whether a jewel was created in the 1930s or fifty years later, the designs are timeless and still very highly regarded worldwide.
1. A pair of yellow gold and grey pearl cascade earrings, signed René Boivin, made in Paris, ca 1970. 2. A yellow gold diamond-set “Bibendum” ring, signed René Boivin, made in Paris, ca 1940.
30 A yellow gold bracelet with tiger’s eye rings and set with diamonds, signed Cartier, made in Paris by Georges Lenfant, ca 1960.
A platinum “Trombino” ring set with a cabochon cut blue sapphire and diamonds, signed Bvlgari, made in ltaly, ca 1960.
Previous pages: A yellow gold bracelet signed Georges Lenfant for Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1960.
Georges Lenfant Georges Lenfant is a jewellery atelier from Paris, which became famous in the 1970s with its specialism of woven goldthread. The thin thread was wound and woven into continuously thicker forms and finally into links. All famous houses in Paris had jewellery created with this technique: Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermès, Boucheron and indeed also Vacheron Constantin, originally a watch brand. Apart from jewels made with this technique, Lenfant also produces other high-end jewels such as the bracelet for Cartier on the previous pages. A yellow gold bracelet signed Georges Lenfant, made in Paris for Vacheron & Constantin, ca 1970.
Opposite page: A yellow gold ring set with a cabochon cut angel skin coral and rose cut diamonds, signed Mario Buccellati, made in Milan, Italy, ca 1965.
The 1970 s They are not usually regarded as “antique” and unfortunately the style of this period has not been given a name yet. Nonetheless, jewels from the 1970s are more sought after than ever. It is a period of exciting designs and a new use of colours and gemstones. The designs are very recognizable. On the one hand, there still is geometry as we know it from the 1960s and which we associate with the fashion designs of, for example, Pierre Cardin: the clear form of the A-line dresses with op-art patterns. On the other hand, there are natural textures: metal is etched and worked in order to acquire an almost organic look and feel. Sometimes it is even combined with unpolished gemstones or crystals. It is true for both trends that the jewels are very wearable and stylish and that you can just as easily combine them with a black dress as with a pair of jeans.
Opposite page: A pair of platinum and yellow gold diamond-set earrings, signed Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1970. 41
Jewellery from the 1970s 1. A yellow gold and wood longchain, signed Gucci, made in Italy, ca 1970. 2. A yellow and white gold necklace, signed Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1970. 3. A yellow gold three row granulé necklace, signed Bvlgari, made in Italy, ca 1970. Opposite page: A yellow gold diamond-set pendant/brooch with matching earrings, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, made in Paris, ca 1970.
Aldo Cipullo Many are familiar with his designs but usually not with his name. Aldo Cipullo (1935-1984) was employed by Cartier in 1969 in order to give their collection a more modern look. He is the man behind the iconic designs of the “Love”- and “Juste un Clou”-bracelets. Both designs are from the 1970s, but as they continued to be successful, they are still being produced today. Cipullo made a lot of other designs for Cartier, all of them depicting the atmosphere of the time. Unfortunately, he died much too young, but currently his designs are more sought after than ever. A yellow gold necklace with onyx and cornelian links and matching earrings with cornelian links, both signed Aldo Cipullo for Cartier, New York, made ca 1970.
Previous pages: A yellow gold “Chapelet Musulman” necklace, signed Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1970.
Opposite page: A platinum and yellow gold ring set with a large carved lapis lazuli and pavé-set with many diamonds, signed Cartier, made in Paris, ca 1980.
A pair of yellow gold clip earrings with detachable rings from carved onyx and cornelian, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, made in Paris, ca 1970.
Van Cleef & Arpels Since their founding in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels have always been a leading jewellery house. Many designs have proven to be timeless and still appeal to modern taste. There is a very large workshop with a close team consisting of many specialists. Among them are designers, goldsmiths, polishers, engravers and stone setters. The jewels of this house are produced in a meticulous and minutely detailed fashion. This results in jewels of top quality both artistically and technically. No matter whether a complicated necklace or a simple ring is concerned: quality always comes first. For apart from “high end” technical masterpieces the house has always produced wearable jewels as well. The popularity of the “Tartelette”-ring from the 1960s and of the exciting combination of wood and gold from the 1970s is unabated. Finally, there are the all-time classics of the “Alhambra”-line; the favourite jewel of, among others, Gracia from Monaco, Romy Schneider and Françoise Hardy. Previous page: A yellow gold ‘Alhambra’ longchain with twenty malachite Alhambra-motifs, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, made in Paris in 2016.
53 1. A wood and yellow gold ring, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, made in Paris, dated 1970.
2. A platinum and yellow gold “Tartelette” ring, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, made in New York, ca 1960.
3. A yellow gold ring set with onyx and diamonds, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, made in Paris, ca 1970.
54 A pair of yellow gold square hoop earrings, signed René Boivin, made in Paris, ca 1980.
Opposite page: A pair of yellow gold, black enamel and diamond earrings, signed David Webb, made in New York. This page: A yellow gold bangle inlayed with onyx and mother of pearl, signed Tiffany & Co., made in New York, dated 1986.
A pair of gilt bronze earrings, signed Claude Lalanne, made in Paris, in 1992.
A yellow gold bracelet from the ‘Broken Lines’-series, with original laminated de-sign/drawing. Signed Emmy van Leersum, made in 1979. Previous pages: A yellow gold fold bracelet, signed Emmy van Leersum, made in the Netherlands in 1983.
Emmy van Leersum Up until the 20th century many regional pieces of jewellery are worn in the Netherlands. During the 20th century this trend changes. Influences from the rest of Europe lead to a more varied picture. In The Hague, jeweller Steltman works in the tradition of famous French jewellery houses, whereas in Amsterdam the designs of the Amsterdam School find entrance into the art of goldsmithing. There are beautiful developments, but only after WWII does it get really interesting, as young designers and goldsmiths at various art academies rebel against the prevailing norm. An end to gold and silver, an end to traditional goldsmithing! A revolution takes place in the field, which is being copied worldwide. An important driving force is Emmy van Leersum. She looks upon her pieces of jewellery as autonomous pieces of art; she herself calls them “objects to wear”. Her work is sometimes done in gold, sometimes in stainless steel depending on what best serves the design; the choice of material is secondary to the form. Her way of approaching and simultaneously letting go of traditional forms such as necklaces and bracelets, now proves to be timeless or rather very much ahead of her time. 63
Contemporary Jewellery Art is always in motion and this is just as true for jewels. It is very interesting to see how modern jewels develop and how they relate to traditional antique jewels. Art academies have embraced the jewel: this has led to revolutions and these pieces of jewellery have formed a whole new world. Besides, the large jewellery houses, too, have adapted to modern times and often cooperate with independent external designers in order to achieve innovative creations. In short, the spectrum is larger than ever. At this very moment goldsmiths and designers are creating the “antiques of the future”. Just as in previous times, mothers will pass on the works of jewellers to their daughters, i.e. to the next generation and to another wearer who in turn will pass them on. This is how it always was and always will be. The beautiful thing about a jewel is that it is our personal belonging only for a very short time, while in 100 years, when it may officially be called antique, and maybe even for centuries afterwards, it will be worn with love by the generations following us. 65 Opposite page: A yellow gold brooch “Lamellar Sphere, Homage to Raphael Soto”, signed Francesco Pavan, made in Italy, ca 1982.
Giampaolo Babetto Giampaolo Babetto (*1947) was trained at the famous Istituto Statale d’Arte Pietro Selvatico, also known as “The Padua School”. At this art academy the training consists of both the technical and the artistic side of the field. Thus, students can design their work and carry it out technically, both on the highest level. In Padua, Babetto was the student of Mario Pinton, among others. Later he taught there himself for many years. His work is perfect not only in terms of technical standards but also regarding its artistry. The jewels are made with craftsmanship whereas the designs are daring. His work is minimalistic and his interest in architecture is easily discernable. His work is displayed in museums all over the world and is part of many collections. Previous pages: A yellow gold necklace with niëllo on one side and satiné gold on the other side, signed Giampaolo Babetto, made in Italy in 2018. Opposite page: A yellow gold and wood bracelet, signed Giampaolo Babetto, made in Italy, dated 1977. Special edition for Galerie Nouvelle Images, The Hague, the Netherlands. This page: A yellow gold and wood ring, signed Giampaolo Babetto, made in Italy, dated 1977.
Left: A yellow gold satiné necklace set with rough uvarovite garnet crystals, signed Michael Becker, made in Germany. Right: A yellow gold satiné bracelet set with rough uvarovite garnet crystals, signed Michael Becker, made in Germany.
Michael Becker The work of Michael Becker (*1958) is mostly inspired by architecture. His earliest designs are literal translations of the floor plans of famous buildings. Over the years his work has become more stylized. Due to the satiné surface finishing the design stands out even more and makes the work unostentatious and wearable. Becker’s work looks deceivingly simple, while technically it is very difficult to construct. Especially the rectangular and square forms require an extremely high level of craftsmanship. His work is held in various museums and collections worldwide and has been awarded many prizes.
1. A pair of satiné yellow gold and unpolished lapis lazuli earrings, signed Michael Becker, made in Germany. 2. A satiné yellow gold necklace, signed Michael Becker, made in Germany. 3. A pair of satiné yellow gold and unpolished lapis lazuli earrings, signed Michael Becker, made in Germany.
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