In January I visited Christie’s in Geneva where Daniel Struyf described The European Fine Art Fair (abbreviated: TEFAF) as a “must-visit” event. TEFAF is an annual art fair since 1988, organized by The European Fine Art Foundation in the MECC in Maastricht, Netherlands.
Albeit Chopard showcased the new high jewellery collection at Basel, they reserved some wonders for the visitors of TEFAF too. One of the pieces on display were a pair of earrings made in 18-Carat white Fair-mined gold from artisanal gold mines in South America, and adorned with 72 marquise cut diamonds representing delicate leaves. These Green Carpet pieces are increasingly popular on the red carpet.
Chopard unveiled the first pieces in the Green Carpet Collection, a cuff bracelet and matching earrings set in Fairmined gold with diamonds, at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. The gemstones are sourced from the IGC Group’s mines certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) code of conduct. The Venice Film Festival, the Los Angeles Golden Globes and Baselworld 2014 also welcomed additional pieces in this collection.
Many actresses prefer these pieces of jewellery which aim to create socially responsible and sustainable luxury. As Caroline Scheufele (Co-President and Artistic Director) said: “As a century old, family-run business, we are very aware of our responsibilities in our journey to sustainable luxury. It is not an easy journey, but it is the right one.” We look forward to see their creations along this route.
Chopard’s other high jewellery collection, the Red Carpet uses rarities like rich luscious green old-cut Colombian emeralds, vivid rubies and deep blue sapphires. These are not easy to trace down, especially not in exceptional quality.
According to the family history, there was already a goldsmith among the Buccellatis in the mid 18th century, and then in 1903 Mario revived the tradition and entered an apprenticeship at Beltrami & Beltrami in Milan. In 1919 he took over the business and opened his first boutique. At this time he was already famous for the elements that were to become signature Buccellati style: tulle- or lace-like gold creating an amazingly delicate and fine texture.
Gabriele D’Annunzio, Italian author, poet, dramatist, journalist and WWI soldier, the Prince of Montenevoso, friend and client of Mario ordered many unique pieces. Buccellati liked to study authentic ancient techniques and in many cases they recreated Ancient Roman objects. His fame spread not only in Italy but across the world, Spanish aristocrats, royal families and even the Vatican became regular customers of the brand.
New stores were opened in Rome and Florence. In 1951, Mario opened his first store in New York, with the assistance of his son Luca (and a few years later another one on Fifth Avenue, and also in Palm Beach).
In 1971 Gianmaria Buccellati (one of the Mario’s sons) started a separate business from his other brothers, but finally in 2011 agreed with his relatives to unite under the brand Buccellati. In 2013, the private equity fund Clessidra SGR became the lead investing partner in Buccellati House.
Masters of Dreams – Italian episode: Gianmaria Buccellati, – who to this day designs jewellery by hand on cartridge paper and creates unbelievably fine lace-like pieces with a fascinating technique – talks about one of his favourite items in a sincerely captivating way. Watching him, his jewellery designs take on a brand new meaning and value.
Their special style involves rich hand-engraving and textural quality, interesting gemstones and the use of mixed metals. Buccellati has a very strong identity, the pieces can be really different but all are easily recognizable “Buccellati-creations”.
Olivier Reza, son of the now-retired Alexandre returned to manage the company following a successful career in international banking. He decided to remain open to the public through salons in Paris only. The atelier is on the first floor of Hôtel de Fontpertuis, 21 Place Vendôme in Paris, designed in the 17th century by Pierre Bullet, French architect (c. 1639 – 1716). The idea behind this decision is that the House would like to concentrate on creating jewels only. Being a very exclusive and independent manufacture they have the chance to take risks and as Olivier describes: “go as far as possible to create perfection”.
As part of the comeback, the brand put on a public show of jewellery — the company’s first in 20 years — which began at Sotheby’s in New York and travelled to London; Doha, Qatar; and Beijing. The New York based luxury book publisher, Assouline presented a monumental edition in 2012, showcasing more than one hundred rare pieces of Reza’s creations, sketches and vintage photos.
If you would like to know more about the history of Alexandre Reza, please visit our article about the Biennale des Antiquaires, Grand Palais, Paris.
Photo credits: Alexandre Reza, Buccellati, Chopard, Loupiosity.com.
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