Category Archives: Gems

Largest Girandoles

Princess Isabella of Parma’s girandole earrings in Meng’s painting below are modest in comparism to these 11 cm. long diamond girandole earrings. They are the largest pair known. The silver earrings are completely set with rose cut diamonds, all perfectly set to the point that they appear to melt into the floral design, Portugal, third quarter of the 18th century.

weight: 65.8 grams
length: 11 cm.

In jewelry, a girandole is a design, mostly earrings, in which three dangling pear-shaped ornaments are suspended from a central motif, often a bow. The girandole was the favourite court jewel in the 17th century and its popularity remained in the 18th century. The original 17th century model comprised one element above a central bows suspending 3 or 5 pear shaped pendants all moving independently creating a dramatic sparkle effect. In the 18th century new versions of the girandole model were created where the central bow experienced several variations. This model, where the central bow was replaced by a bouquet was the favourite in the European courts.

www_18thcentury_diamond_girandole_earrings

These earrings are from the collection of Américo Barreto, famous Portuguese jewellery collector and dealer in the 20st century. Barreto worked as a consultant of “National Palace of Ajuda” for the crown jewels collection and was widely recognized both nationally and internationally. He had a legendary private collection which was presented at Museum of Ancient Art until his death and that is can be found (partially) on the illustrated book “Five Centuries of Jewelry”.

The earrings were probably sold by Barreto in the 1970s. There is no information regarding the original provenance of these earrings but it is very likely that they have a royal or noble provenance. They are rich and extravagant. Here is another portrait of Queen Maria Luisa of Parma who was also painted by Mengs in 1765.

Queen Maria Luisa of Parma 1765

Queen Maria Luisa of Parma 1765

 

Large Girandoles

T i m o t h y  H o r n  mirrored blown glass, nickel-plated bronze

A Girandole (French, from the Italian girandola) is an ornamental branched candlestick composed of several lights. Girandoles came into use about the second half of the 17th century, and were made and used in pairs. A girandole has always been a luxurious lighting device, and in the 18th century, the period of great French decoration, the famous carvers designed some beautiful examples from gold, gilded silver or bronze or wood.

In jewelry, a girandole is a design, mostly earrings, in which three dangling pear-shaped ornaments are suspended from a central motif, often a bow. Girandole earrings were very popular in the 17th and 18th century, but even now still are.

Princess Isabella of Parma (daughter of Philip of Spain, Duke of Parma) wears the most magnificent 18th century diamond girandole earrings on this painting, which was done soon after her marriage to Joseph II in 1760, by Anton Raphael Mengs.

Revivals exist of all times, like this english 1790 harlequin girandole gold brooch set with foiled gems; two amethysts, three chrysolites, a topaz and a garnet or these two colored coral and gold Van Cleef & Arpels girandole ear clips from the 1970s.

This lovely pair of silver and paste is brand new.

Sheer Elegance in a Girandole Earring

This is more stylized example; a pair of diamond and platinum girandole earrings set with brilliant and baguette cut diamonds from the 1950s.

diamond and platinum earrings

A pair of 19th century garnet and gold girandole earrings form the South of France.

grenat de Perpignan earrings

A pair of girandole  earrings with five oval shaped coque de perle, a pearl-like stone that is cut from the Indian nautilus shell and is similar to a blister pearl.

Girandole style earrings with five oval shaped coque de perle, a pearl-like stone that is cut from the Indian nautilus shell and is similar to a blister pearl. (via Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Timothy Horn makes the ultimate girandoles, even though you cannot wear them in your ears….. They refer back to their original decorative functions.

T i m o t h y  H o r n  mirrored blown glass, nickel-plated bronze

Horn’s exhibition in the Young Museum in San Francisco showed Sweet Thing (2008), a bronze and nickel tree-like girandole sculpture with large pearls made of mirrored blown glass elements. Except for the fact that it measures 50 x 36 inches, Sweet Thing closely resembles a blown up 18th century girandole drop earring. As you can see, Horn is interested in the intersection between beauty and grotesque, perfection versus vulgarity and his work always has a strong connection to the decorative arts. Grand!

Titania (2009)

T i m o t h y  H o r n  mirrored blown glass, nickel-plated bronze, cast lead crystal

T i m o t h y  H o r n  mirrored blown glass, nickel-plated bronze, cast lead crystal

Titania II (2011)

T i m o t h y  H o r n  mirrored blown glass, nickel-plated bronze

Petit Chou (2009)

T i m o t h y  H o r n  mirrored blown glass, nickel-plated bronze

These huge cast lead crystal, bronze, nickel plate Girandoles l and ll (Rain of Hot Stones) (1998) are so lovely even though Horn tried to change materials and reduce associated preciousness; Horn plays with the beautiful.

Bring jewels to life: a competition about Ilona Ptasnik’s jewellery collection in Schoonhoven

Ilona Ptasnik

Last year the Dutch Silver Museum in Schoonhoven received a generous gift from the estate of Ilona Ptasnik. A large collection of antique jewellery was given by this lady who had been unknown to the Museum before her gift. Ms. Ptasnik  was born in Amsterdam in 1918 from a Jewish Polish family. In 1938 her family emigrated to the USA where Ilona married Adriaan van der Bilt with whom she returned to The Netherlands after the Second World War. From her jewellery collection appears a preference of gemstones, but apart from this, a large variety of styles, techniques and fashions.

The Museum got curious; Who was this woman, how did she look and what does her collection tell us about her life? The Museum asks us to help them bring her jewellery to life. We can contribute with stories, drawings, collages, poems – anything – with your idea about who Ilona Ptasnik was. You can send your work to: info@zilvermuseum.nl. All contributions will form a part of the exhibition that shows Ms. Ptasnik’s jewellery collection from 25 September until 25 November in Schoonhoven. You will see what promises to be a very impressive collection and if your ideas correspond with reality. I can’t wait to see and who actually knew Ilona??

The ‘Moon of Baroda’ is a girl’s best friend

Kunsthandel Inez Stodel’s Fall Exhibition 24 September – 2 October

Kunsthandel Inez Stodel cordially invites you to our Fall Exhibition.

We will show our latest acquisitions and artworks by Philip Sajet for the occasion of OPEN! 2010 in the Spiegelkwartier in Amsterdam.

Opening hours:
24 September until 2 October : 11.00 – 17.00
On Saturday 25 September the artist, Philip Sajet, will be present
Monday 27 September closed

Philip Sajet

In 1977 – when the first snow fell – Philip Sajet first decided to make jewellery. Nine years later he had his first solo exhibition and now his work is shown at Kunsthandel Inez Stodel for Sajet’s 39th solo exhibition. At our special request Philip has made many of his most famous jewels, such as the Palette Necklace and the Harlequin Ring. Philip Sajet was born in 1953 in Amsterdam.

His father was Dutch, but his mother, whose father was a jeweller in Paris, came from France. A few years ago Sajet and his wife moved to the South of France, where they are both goldsmith. Sajet has his own vision of his craft “Jewels are small objects that you wear on the skin, cheer you up, adorn us and to show our necessary vanity”. In his clearly defined area of rings, necklaces and earrings Sajet shows us his groundbreaking designs. Sajet is honored that his work is shown in a jewellery loving environment for the first time.

We have chosen Philip Sajet because his jewels are works of art that show a lot of craftsmanship, love and humour. They are contemporary but go back to the basis of the art of jewellery. You will see large minerals, glass and pearls with a lot of colored enamel. The shape of diamonds often returns in different guises. For us there are many surprises, not only in Sajet’s view of his craft but also in how he gives this expression.

In 2011, the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn will stage a Sajet retrospective.

Moon of Baroda by Philip Sajet

The Moon of Baroda by Philip Sajet is an 18 carat gold ring, set with seven cabochon flints and a pear cut citrine of circa 24 carats. Sajet was inspired by the pear shaped canary yellow diamond from India with the same name.

Marilyn Monroe and the Moon of Baroda

The original Moon of Baroda of 24.04 carats was owned by the Maharajas of Baroda for 500 years before it was bought by Meyer Rosenbaum, director of Meyer Jewellery Company, in 1920. The diamond was borrowed to the most extraordinary Hollywood movie star of all times, Marilyn Monroe for her performance of Diamonds are a girl’s best friend in the legendary movie Gentlemen prefer blondes. In real life Marilyn did not own real diamonds.

Marilyn sings Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Barbie’s pink diamond

World news? Maybe not, but one month from now Christie’s New York will auction off the rarest and most expensive Barbie doll with an estimate of $545,000.

Mattel has asked the famed Australian jewellery designer, Stefano Canturi, to design a Barbie and create her ultimate accessories. He designed her a little black dress and a beautiful demi suite. The suite includes a ring and necklace with over three carats of white diamonds set in Canturi’s distinct cubism style: geometric lines in ditto or curved patterns. The necklace is highlighted by a pretty one carat bright pink square-cut diamond from the Australian Argyle mine. Just imagine this set life-size!

Canturi explains on his website: “I wanted the jewelry design to pay homage to Barbie’s modern yet timeless style, this is why I applied my Cubism design concept to her look; it is perfect for her.

Barbie will be auctioned at Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” sale on October 20th 2010. Canturi & Mattel will donate 100 % of the profits to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Who’s bidding?

Below is Stefano Canturi with his Barbie.


Birthstones, the legend

Gemstones have long been attributed mystical and magical powers in relation to religion and superstition. The notion that a certain gemstone is associated with a specific month, ‘birthstones’, derives from these early beliefs regarding one’s time of birth and its relationship to the planets.

Origin of birthstones

The tradition of birthstones originates from the Jewish astral depiction of gemstones. The high priest and brother of Moses, Aaron wore a breastplate that was covered with twelve gemstones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The stones also corresponded with the twelve signs of the zodiac and later the twelve months of the year. The Breastplate of Aaron is referred to in Exodus 28:17-20 and Revelation 21:19-20.

Indian planetary gems or Navaratna talisman

The belief in a cosmic universe where heaven and earth are connected also includes the supernatural powers of gems. Divine powers are everywhere from macrocosm through the physical elements such as mineral products. In India nine planets – all designated as celestial deities – watch over nine gems; Saturn is the planet for the blue Sapphire, the Moon’s ascending node for Hessonite garnet, the descending node for cat’s eye, Venus for the diamond, the Sun for the ruby, the Moon for the pearl, Jupiter for the topaz, Mercury for the emerald and Mars for the coral. Navaratna jewels (nava= nine; ratna = jewel) contain all nine gems in a specific order.

Gem symbolism

It is also believed every gem is endowed with different power and symbolism. The oldest crown of England, for example, which is on view in the Tower of London, contains the Black Prince’s Ruby and emphasizes the power of the wearer. This ruby is in fact a huge 170 carat spinel (rubies and spinels were only told apart from the late 19th century when they discovered that spinel is a magnesium aluminum oxide, while ruby (corundum) is an aluminum oxide. )

Modern Birthstones

It is still a common belief that gems hold power and that wearing the gem associated with your birthday functions as a talisman and will bring good luck, health or power. This faith in working power of gems can even be seen as a tool to gain power in the world. In today’s world of danger, uncertainty and less religious belief people tend to reach out to other irrational or magical beliefs such as lapidaria (knowledge of stones).

Birthstone jewelry has become a poetic tradition for gift givers as this Art Déco Cartier catalogue illustrates. Please ignore the old prices!!

Who of you wears or is looking for his or her birthstone? For more extensive reading on birthstones read this Jewelers of America leaflet or our Cartier catalogue on birthstones.

Month Gemstone Alternative gemstones
January Garnet Garnet
February Amethyst Amethyst or hyacinth
March Aquamarine or bloodstone Jasper or bloodstone
April Diamond Diamond or sapphire
May Emerald Emerald or agate
June Pearl, moonstone or alexandrite Pearl, moonstone or alexandrite
July Ruby Turquoise or onyx
August Peridot or sardonyx Sardonyx
September Sapphire Peridot
October Opal or tourmaline Beryl or opal
November Topaz or citrine Topaz or pearl
December Tanzanite, turquoise, zircon, lapis lazuli or blue topaz

Tobias Wong’s Dadaist jewels

Last month the artist Tobias Wong died. Wong suffered from insomnia and did extreme and crazy thing while sleepwalking all his life.  Sadly now he has killed himself in one of his sleepwalking escapades. We are very sorry.

Tobias Wong was the creator of a lot of humorous and provocative jewels and designs that question concepts like luxury and consumerism in the art world that promotes luxury. Even though I take adornments seriously and don’t find them superfluous often, artists like Wong give us the opportunity to look at jewellery in a different way. Here are some of those exceptions:

Ballistic Rose

Wong made a classical decorative corsage out of bulletproof fabric. A high-tech talisman that will protect your heart in an uncertain world.

The Diamond Project

This project entailed series of diamond-based concept art; a diamond screensaver, a rubber bouncing ball infused with 2 carats of micro diamonds and hidden diamond ring with the stone on the inside rather than on top of  it.  The ring challenges problem young lovers encounter when they have to buy big stones with their fiancees – in the US that is! In the Netherlands we don’t have this problem. Diamond wedding rings are given as engagement rings and engagement rocks are for later in life or for some too decadent to even look at. For this the hidden diamond ring is a common known and serious design in The Netherlands, where in the US it is a joke.

Killer Engagement Ring

Is the diamond in this engagement ring a Perfect Cut or not? Who cares, because there is no (need for) fire or brilliance in this killer ring. A one carat diamond ring with its pavilion up, so that the sharp culet can function as weapon, since diamond is the hardest stone on earth with which you can really hurt someone. Apart from a weapon Wong’s engagement ring could serve as a stylish and effective means of scratching your cheating ex-fiance’s car.

Indulgences collection

cokespoonpendant1

Wong created this collection with fashion designer Ken Courtney of Just Another Rich Kid. The project commented on todays consumer culture where everything is being turned into a luxury item. What do you give a person who already has everything? Instead of gilt toothbrushes, this collection featured the ultimate luxury and unnecessary goods: Cokespoons made out of everyday objects that can be used to scoop cocaine.. They made bronze replicas of Bic pen caps plated in 18K gold, gilt bronze replicas of McDonald’s coffee sticks commonly used as a coke spoon in the 1970s and eventually discontinued upon request from U.S. drug enforcement officials.

Gold Pills

Another indulgence were these 24K gold leaf capsule pills only intended to consume and digest.

“diamonds vs. black” for Colette Meets Comme des Garçons

In this Japanese and French collaborated exhibition, Wong showed diamond-embedded dimes, and Tiffany & Co. cultured pearl earings dipped in black rubber. One special edition of Comme des Garçons perfume featured diamonds floating within the fragrance.