Spring Exhibition 14 – 21 May 2011 “opened due to the renovation of our premises”

Kunsthandel Inez Stodel cordially invites you to the Spring Exhibition 2011, which includes many new acquisitions. As our shop is undergoing renovation, the exhibition is being held at the Association of Fine Art Dealers in the Netherlands (Vereeniging voor Handelaren in Oude Kunst), in 14 Honthorststraat, Amsterdam, close to the Van Gogh Museum. The exhibition is held from 14 until 21 May 2011:  from 11.00 – 18.00.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Boucheron Peacock Brooch

A very special item on show is this 18 carat gold and silver brooch in the form of a stylized peacock, set with 47 old-cut diamonds and 34 rose cut diamonds (circa 15 carat), all taken from the same raw material. Signed: ‘F. Boucheron, Paris’. The brooch was made by the goldsmith F. Busset in February 1894 for the House of Boucheron.


The pearl carpet of Baroda

Ever since we had Philip Sajet’s Moon of Baroda on display last year, I wanted to write about the Baroda’s most famous treasure; the pearl Carpet of Baroda, a carpet completely encrusted with diamonds and pearls. It was auctioned at Sotheby’s in March 2009 for 5,458,500 USD. If the Wonders of the World would be objets de vertu, this carpet would be one of the Wonders…

History of the Pearl Carpet of Baroda

The carpet gets its name from Maratha Princely State of Baroda, one of the four Princely States of the Maratha Confederacy, that was ruled by the Gaekwad dynasty since 1740. It was commissioned by Khande Rao Gaekwad, and took around five years to complete.

Khande Rao Gaekwad, a Hindu Maharaja and notable jewellery collector, was fascinated by Islam. He ordered the carpet in 1865 with the wish to cover the tomb of the Holy Prophet in Medina, just like the Pearl Carpet over Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb in Taj Mahal, to show his respect to Islam, but Khande Rao died before the pearl carpet could be delivered and was kept as a state treasure. It was brought to Delhi in 1903 for its first public viewing. In 1943, Sita Devi became the second wife of the then Maharaja of Baroda Pratap Sinh Gaekwad. She moved the complete collection of the House of Baroda to Europe. When the State of Baroda merged with India in 1947, the government forced the Maharaja to return the Pearls of Baroda and the Diamonds of Baroda, but Devi (after her divorce) hit the carpet in Geneva.. It surfaced in 1985 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In fact, it was here that it was recognised as a national treasure of India.

Pratapsingh Rao Gaekwad with the Pearls of Baroda

The Carpet

The Pearl Carpet of Baroda is 2.64 meters long, 1.73 meters wide, and is made from a mixture of silk and deer hide. Its design was inspired by the Indian Mughal period and the Safavid period of Iran, but its motifs could easily be ignored, if it weren’t from the millions of precious stones covering it.

Most of the Pearl Carpet of Baroda is covered with colored glass beads, and an estimated 1.5 to 2 million natural seed pearls harvested from the coasts of Qatar and Bahrain. In the middle of the carpet there are three large rosettes made of 2,520 table-cut and rose cut diamonds, placed in silver-topped and blackened gold. Over 1,000 cabochon rubies and 600 Colombian emeralds can be found on the carpet.

Who is afraid of…jewellery? Five collections Chi ha paura…?

The Value of Jewellery & Chi ha Paura…

Last month the Museum for Contemporary Art and Design (Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertochenbosch, “SM’s“) organized a symposium on the value of jewellery. Experts from different fields (artist, gallery owners, appraisers, jewellers such as myself, and scientists) discussed their views and the different aspects of the value of (modern) jewellery; emotional value, material value, whether it is fashionable or a big brand, the different settings, whether it is considered Art or not). Suzanne Monkel gave an interesting introduction, in which she mentioned a range of different value related aspects.


There were very interesting discussions about Art, emancipation of women and jewellery but no conclusions. In fact, there where huge differences of opinion between the different circuits, which all have their own system of pricing and defining quality. A much heard saying about ‘what its worth’ was: ‘What a crazy man will spend on it’ (Wat een gek ervoor geeft).

Big concern that was mentioned is that nobody really understands why modern jewellery and other applied works of art do not bring in the same amount of money that visual art does. Why is jewellery not emancipated as a fully artistic medium, meaning, why does it not have the same financial recognition? Ted Noten’s acrylic bags will bring 10k at auction while Damien Hirst’s installations fetch 12 million. Most of us found this quite incomprehensible. They make very similar work on a different scale. Common opinion was also that more education is needed in regard to modern jewellery, so people are more familiar with it and recognize styles and designers.

Who is afraid of…jewellery? Five collections Chi ha paura…?

Chi ha paura…? (Italian for ‘Who is afraid of…?’, ‘CHP‘) is a brand that produces designer jewellery from international designers. CHP wants to show the  world of design that a good piece of jewellery is more than an accessory. Conceptual jewellery design in which the choice of material and technology are used to support the concept. CHP tries to make designer jewellery more accessible and to brand it better. CHP was created by designer Gijs Bakker and  Italian gallery owner Marijke Vallanzasca, who asked well-established designers to concentrate more on the preciousness of the idea rather than on the intrinsic value of the object by paying particular attention to concept, play, new techniques and material. SM’s exhibits CHP jewels from its own collection in different themes, such as: What’s Luxury?, Sense of Wonder, Rituals and Body Stories.

Chris Kabel’s Gold Nuggets

These are the  Gold Nuggets by Chris Kabel. It is a super-lightweight necklace composed of 20 large 24-carat gold nuggets or actually gold-plated silver nuggets questioning the connection between weight and value. It  is one of the jewels available at CHP from the What’s Luxury collection;  contemporary interpretations of luxury offering new views on man’s desire of luxury. All with a temporary character that just pleases the senses or mind for a moment, like Tobias Wong‘s anti consumerism work. Chris Kabel reconfigures existing objects and materials. Form and function are separated so that his work tricks you, what you see is not what you get, like the nuggets. I really love the surprise of the necklace. It got me smiling ear to ear… The price is EUR 1750,- so in good CHP principles the value of the jewel cannot be determined by its intrinsic value based on its weight of the silver, because it is art and art transcends all matter.

The Real Thing?

How do you like this Gold Nugget necklace? There are 15 nuggets of high carat gold and a bit of matrix metal such as ironstone that weigh 101 grams together, with a larger nugget as a pendant measuring 4 x 3 cm. It was created in the 19th century most likely  in Australia.  A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. They are often formed in streams and rivers where small particles of gold are welded together by the pressure of the water. These nuggets were found in the ground because they contain ironstone. This is the most common type as the result of chemical weathering and deposition. These nuggets are high purity as they form very close to the surface of the earth, and the ironstone erodes out of them. They often have lots of character, in that they are knobbly with convex and concave facets. Some have reddish ironstone like the big nugget, most have black.

Now what is its value? Is only its intrinsic value important for the value of the necklace or is there more? Big nuggets are rare and sought after by collectors. But the rarity of the big nugget is only relative too. Collectors see too much trace elements and maybe melt down the piece. Also collectors would find it a gotspe to put a bail on an important gold nugget, they will completely lose interest, while jewellery lovers will get enthusiastic only when the nugget is wearable. This contradiction also means that rare as it is, little large nuggets like this still exist; being uncollectible they would have been melted down were it not for the jeweler who made this fantastic necklace. Plus, as we have learned, it is all in the eye of the beholder. The price is still under evaluation….

the Utrecht Museum of Musical Clocks presents Emperor Qianlong’s Singsongs: paste extravaganza

In Utrecht we have a unique museum: the Museum Speelklok (Museum of Musical Clocks). They house any kind of automatic  musical instrument, such as this monster of a carousel. Until 28 February a very special exhibition SingSong displays a selection of clocks representing the most important objects from the Qing dynasty. Leading European clockmakers, such as the master of the craft James Cox, produced many of these magical and mysteriously frivolous showpieces. They have never left China before.

Although they do contain proper clock movements, their main aim was not to tell the time but to amuse and impress, making them exclusive and expensive toys for prominent adults. The exotic designs went way beyond any imagination expressed in the European rococo and chinoiserie of the time. During the 18th century, the most spectacular and costly clocks were traded from the West to China. The clocks were much sought after by the Chinese emperors and were also highly desirable gifts.


Some enchanting clocks played music every quarter of an hour, and the Chinese called this novelty ‘the clock that plays by itself’, or in Chinese: ‘zimingzhong’. This word was anglicised into ‘singsong’, the equivalent of the musical clock. Emperor Qianlong (1736-1796) accumulated a vast collection of these fascinating and imaginative clocks, which now form part of the collection of the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City (Beijing).  For three years Museum Speelklok and the Palace Museum have restored the imperial clocks together. The exhibition also gives a great insight in this complicated collaboration.

The Pagoda clock

This clock is one of a pair of identical, fire-gilded bronze pagoda clocks. The pagodas have five levels, with roofs decorated with bells, garlands and pastes: glass which has been cut into gem-like forms imitation gemstones. The paste decorations are completely over the top.  Each hour on the hour, music plays and the pagoda clocks open up telescopically (to a height of almost two metres!), only to fall back again to their original size during the hour that follows.

The Elephant & the Pavillion clock

Watch these clock play below.


Georges Frederic Strass (1701-1773) invented the much desired gem imitation in 1730 and due to the huge success of the invented technique was awarded with the title King’s Jeweler in 1743. The glass “gems” could be set in silver or gold and could have been foiled or unfoiled. The 18th century pastes demonstrated on the SingSongs were always foiled. Foiled pastes were usually seen in closed-backed settings where the foil provided added reflection and brilliance. Pastes were much easier cut and shaped than real gems, making this close-fitting pavé look achievable. You see every color imaginal, including opaline pastes that are similar to opals as in this brooch. Only two gems real are used; amethysts and  chrysolite.

Paste in the Singsongs

Paste jewels are still immensely popular, but I have never seen examples like this before! Pay attention to the bouquet on top of the Elephant clock  in the movie above. Just imagine these bouquets on your shoulder, or just a tiny one…

Holy Insects

Egyptian Revival Scarab Pendant
This is a very rare large Egyptian Revival pendant made in England circa 1870. The 18-carat gold mounting is decorated with enamel with an Egyptian style color palette of red, white and blue. An ancient so-called heart scarab is embedded in the mount. This amulet (4.3 x 3.3 cm.) of turquoise glazed faience represents a scarab. It dates from the Ptolemaic or Roman period (1st BC – 1st AC).

The scarab symbol
This scarab is an authentic Egyptian artifact, brought back from Egypt. To the ancient Egyptians the scarab or dung beetle was the symbol of resurrection and eternal life. The fact that it uses its hind legs to roll a piece of dung backwards into its nest made Egyptians believe the insect had the same power as the god Ra. Why? Because Ra moved the sun in the same way. Since the sun keeps rising every day and eternally, the scarab is as holy as Ra.

Scarabs were often given to the deceased to ensure life after death. (Since the amulet is not inscribed with a prayer or a name, it is not likely that this scarab was buried with a person of importance. Its charm is no less strong because of that.) Originally this type of heart scarab was sewed to the breast of a mummy accompanied by two wings to assist the journey to the afterlife. On the back of this amulet there is even still a small trace of the mummy wrapping visible. The symbol of the scarab was used for many purposes including inscribing prayers, making official seals and commemorating special events. Some scarab amulets were also worn in daily life as a ‘regular’ protection against evil.

Great Egyptian discoveries and Revival
Many discoveries of great cultures have lead to a revival of interest in their art and jewellery. Among these have been Roman, Greek and Celtic revivals. The discovery of the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs and the objects with which they were buried and were presumed to take with them to the afterlife, have inspired many works of art.

Napoleon had already been greatly inspired by Egypt at the time of his Egyptian expeditions in 1798, as is reflected in early 19th-century French art and architecture in the form of Egyptian ornamentation, such as scarabs, sphinxes, winged lions and lotuses.

Napoleon was superstitious and supposedly wore a simple Egyptian scarab as a talisman on his finger. So as not to be lonely in the afterlife, the story goes that he also gave one to his mistress, Marie Walewska.

There were many Egyptian highlights in the mid-19th century. The Rosetta stone helped Jean Francois Champillon decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs – all traditional art and jewelry at that time was decorated with hieroglyphs. In 1859 the archeologist Auguste Mariette discovered Queen Ahhotep’s grave (from 1550 BC) and her jewels were shown at the 1862 World Exhibition in London, where they caught the attention of the Prince of Wales. Having just returned from a Grand Tour in Egypt, the Prince gave Princess Alexandra of Denmark a very special wedding gift in 1863: an Egyptian-style necklace set with scarabs made by the jeweler Robert Phillips.

It was not until after the discovery of Ahhotep’s tomb and the creation of the Suez Canal in 1867 that Egyptomania spread like wildfire throughout Europe. This pendant combines an ancient artifact with a modern (Victorian) setting, yielding an astonishing synthesis in the field of Egyptian art. Ancient traditions always seem to inspire contemporary developments.

Queen Amanishaketo’s bracelet
The technique used in this Revival pendant can be compared with that of one of the first spectacular Egyptian jewellery finds; the Nubian bracelet of Queen Amanishaketo at Meroe, Sudan (then South Egypt), discovered by Giuseppe Ferlini in 1834. In our pendant, as in other revivalist jewels, the colored glass inlays of ancient ones, have been replaced by enamel.

The Duchess of Windsor’s jewels, revisited

King Edward VII gave up the British Throne and country to marry the twice divorced American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson in 1936, making them the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. After this the Duke lived for The Duchess of Windsor. He adored her and gave her jewels for every occasion in their life together. Most jewels are larger than life, according to Wallis’ friend Lady Mosley.

On 30 November 2010 Sotheby’s London will sell 20 jewels from the Duchess of Windsor’s jewellery collection. 23 years after the much celebrated Sotheby’s Geneva auction of her jewels in 1987.  This auction was a global event in prosperous times and the 214-piece collection fetched a record price of EUR 35 million, seven times the pre-sale estimate. Reflecting the 1987 rage today’s estimates  are also completely over the top but will surely be paid. The total sale is expected to bring in around EUR 3 million.

On sale now are jewels that memorialize the most important moments in Edward and Wallis’ relationship. Wallis was greatly admired for her avant-garde style in fashion and jewellery alike. She combined simplicity with whimsy.

Many of the jewels were made by Cartier, two specifically by Cartier’s jewellery director Jeanne Toussaint,  the Onyx and diamond panther bracelet designed in 1952, is one of the finest examples of the ‘great cats’ jewels of which the Duchess was an avid collector. The bracelet is expected to fetch 1,000,000-1,500,000 pounds . This articulated cat forms a “stalking pose” when closed around the wrist.

Jeanne Toussaint also created this exotic flamingo brooch, decorated with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, citrines, and diamonds which was bought by the Duchess in 1940. The flamingo brooch was bought for £498,000 in 1987 and is today estimated at £1m-£1.5m.

Another precious jewel is the diamond cross bracelet by Cartier, supporting nine gem-set Latin crosses, each marking significant events during the years 1934-44. The bracelet is expected to raise £350,000-450,000, while it fetched only £200.000 in 1987.

It is a very sweet; every cross has an inscription and a story to it, but not everyone believes Wallis & Edward were the greatest love story of the 20th century. For a different opinion please read here.

Sotheby’s David Bennett and historian Hugo Vickers, however, make a splendid presentation below.

Autumn jewels

Tatty Devine‘s fallen leaves charm bracelet

JAR’s oak leaf and acorn earrings

Citrine 5os four leave cloaver brooch

Art Nouveau ivy bracelet by Emile Froment Meurice

JAR’s chestnut bracelet

Three 5os stylized chrysanthemum brooches

Lalique’s willow chestnut corsage ornament, circa 1904

Tatty Devine black English oak silhouette necklace