Opening today in London, Masterpiece is an unmissable summer art fair that offers a host of collectibles from antiquity through to the present day. The jewels at this year’s show include unique contemporary designs as well as some of the finest examples of antique and vintage craftsmanship.
An early example of a "Zip" necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels at Hancocks
A standout piece is one of the earliest Zip necklaces by Van Cleef & Arpels, exhibited by leading London jewellers Hancocks. Dating from the early 1950s, the jewel is designed as a highly articulated working zipper in diamonds and yellow gold, and can be worn either as a necklace or zipped closed to form a bracelet. Guy Burton, Director of Hancocks, comments, “Since its unveiling in 1950, the Zip has become one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most sought-after designs. We anticipate it will attract global interest given these pieces very rarely come to market.”
Cartier's yellow diamond, onyx and emerald "Tiger" bracelet at Véronique Bamps
Other exceptional jewels include a yellow diamond, onyx and emerald Tiger bracelet by Cartier, available at Véronique Bamps. As part of Cartier’s Great Cats collection, their tiger designs became especially popular in the 1950s.
Antique jewellery specialists Sandra Cronan is exhibiting a significant historical necklace by Boucheron. Dating from 1883 and designed as a realistically coloured peacock feather with sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, the necklace can also be worn as a brooch or hair ornament and boasts royal Russian provenance.
A sapphire, emerald and diamond Peacock Feather necklace by Boucheron, dating from 1883 at Sandra Cronan
Jewellery fans are equally spoilt for choice at the selection of contemporary designs at this year’s fair. Francesca Grima’s jewels include her Arabesque ring in diamonds and yellow gold swirls, whilst artist jeweller Wallace Chan will showcase his renowned ethereal creations. Debuted at this year’s SIHH show, Van Cleef & Arpels is displaying its first Extraordinary Object: the Automate Fée Ondine, a bejeweled automaton featuring a graceful fairy waking from sleep next to an unfurling water lily.
The JAR sautoir at Symbolic & Chase featuring an exceptional 114.63-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond
Demonstrating that it’s also perfectly possible to combine historical significance with contemporary design is a magnificent sautoir designed by JAR and exhibited by Symbolic & Chase. Set with natural pearls and Colombian emeralds, it features the world’s largest certified old cushion-cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond weighing 114.63 carats and was formerly in the collection of Countess Rosario Zouboff.
If you’re able to escape the scorching summer and see the jewels in their full dazzling glory, Masterpiece is open until 5 July at London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea.