Opal Jewellery - Who's Who of Master Jewellers
Sergio and Stefano Spivach, both trained craftsmen and designers, decided in 1989 to follow in the footsteps of their father Luciano a renowned opal cutter in Italy. The AQA project was born in 2001 to experiment with new forms, geometric and mineralogical interpretations, the use of color and precious materials. AQA Contemporary Opal rings are as one with the stone from which they are born. The rock - boulder - a matrix of ironstone and Opal - becomes the focal point, the subject and the structure of the jewel itself. The metal is moulded to the stone, embracing organic and irregular shapes, acting as a complement and as structural support. The creative process of these brothers and masters is fluid and finds its counterpart in the changing beauty of opal. Rigor, know-how, emotion and harmony are finally the stylistic element. A deep appreciation of opal is combined with quality workmanship giving rise to naturally attractive and harmonious contemporary jewels, the result of skillful research. www.opal.it
Baer Jewels was established in 1988 as an atelier in Hong Kong, Peter and his wife Doris’ duplex showroom and workshop is a unique concept in the heart of Central. Peter Baer is an award-winning designer who apprenticed in his native Switzerland and studied gemmology in Germany, he held design and management positions with leading companies in both Europe and Hong Kong before going independent. Baer jewels are distinctively modern, combining geometric and sculptural lines which evoke a certain architectural quality. Baer use only the finest quality metals and gemstones, including jade, pearls and Opals. Each creation carries the hallmark ‘baerjewels’ with an embedded diamond as a testimony of authenticity and guarantee of superb craftsmanship. www.baerjewels.com
Susan Blennerhassett is a renowned national and international award winning jeweller, co-owner with husband John of Blennerhassett Fine Jewellers in Western Australia. Since her apprenticeship 28 years ago, a major part of her training involved working with Opals, their uniqueness, fiery colours and free-form shapes inspired a passion for working with Australia's National Gemstone. This enthusiasm remains with Susan today, client’s commissions to design have led to her most creative pieces featuring the naturally playful colours in Opals enhanced by diamonds and coloured stones. www.blennerhassett.com.au
Having apprenticed in Italy and worked in Greece, this ambitious young Roman who counts Russian oligarchs among his patrons, trained in the classical style. Boschi’s works are fastidious renditions of colourful imaginings from the ancient and renaissance cultures in which his formative years were immersed. Now based in Australia, a fascination with the natural world has blossomed, especially marine life, portrayed with typical flair and aplomb –‘I prefer curved lines to sharp corners’. Boschi jewels are at once playful and sensual, a mastery and subtle deployment of colour and shading, characterised by contrasting tones of sparkling micro-set gemstones. Each piece is an artful fantasy, unfolding to reveal articulation, minute details and multi-functionality. Dubbed ‘King of a new era’ by Harpers Bazaar China - the highest selling luxury magazine in the world’s most populous nation. As head designer for Autore, from 2005 to 2010, Alessio Boschi helped redefine the image of pearl jewellery. Winner of numerous international awards, Guinness world record holder for the Millennium Sapphire and various accolades besides. He sees himself as the natural successor to Lalique, he is a fervent Opal advocate with the intent of re-instating Australia’s National Gemstone. www.alessioboschi.com
Frederic Boucheron (1830-1902) was a masterful technician who apprenticed under Jules Chaise prior to opening his first jewelry salon in 1858 at Palais Royale, the jeweler's area of Paris. The firm's reputation for design, craftsmanship and the use of gemstones propelled it into the luxury market. In 1893 Boucheron was the first to set up shop at the Place Vendome, still the company’s headquarters. Boucheron exhibited in the early international expositions including the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial; the 1889 and 1900 Expositions Universelle in Paris; the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago; and the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Boucheron has participated in every style of contemporary jewelry. The business has been passed through the family and remains privately owned. Maison Boucheron operates branches in London, the Middle and Far East, Japan, and Moscow.
Brunini was raised in a small beach community just north of San Diego where she is now based. At twenty Katey graduated Bachelor of Arts in History from University of California Santa Barbara. Shortly thereafter she left for Europe and North Africa discovering her passion for jewelry in Egypt. A seminar in haute couture design in London followed by the GIA and various apprenticeships with master jewelers culminated in four years as custom designer for J. Jessops and Sons of Southern California. Katey’s gypsy lifestyle led to her Italian roots, in Sicily she was taught high-karat gold work and ancient techniques by master goldsmiths. K. Brunini jewelry designs was established in 1988. The imaginings of her travels are a constant inspiration of her raw yet refined elegance, a fondness of nature is reflected in her use of organic gems; carved bone, wood and antlers. Her collections include; Twig, Vertebrae, Spider Web, Objects Organique and Spirit Animals; and can be seen in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Allure, Town & Country, Elle and Conde Nast Traveler. Brunini creates marvelous Boulder Opal rings often layered with yellow or rose gold fretwork over a silver shank. www.kbrunini.com
Mario Buccellati opened his first shop in Milan in 1919. In the following years he made jewelry for the royal families of Italy, Spain and Egypt, as well as Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII, among others. In 1925 he opened in Rome followed by Florence in 1929 and New York in 1953. In 1965 the founder's three sons, all goldsmiths, reformed the company to preserve the Buccellati style. According to the company's creative director and daughter of Gianmaria, as a child she sometimes played with the rare Opal egg which years later was on show at the Smithsonian, now netted in diamonds. Under the leadership of Gianmaria Buccellati and his children Maria Christina, Andrea and Gino, 70 Italian craftspeople create personalised jewels featuring texture-engraved gold Their unique artistry can be enjoyed in exclusive boutiques in Milan, Sardinia, Paris, New York, and Beverly Hills, as well as franchises in Venice, Capri, Elba, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Osaka. The firm in the United States is known as Buccellati. But because of the other brothers Lorenzo and Federico's shops in Europe, Gianmaria's European boutiques are called Gianmaria Buccellati. www.buccellati.com
In 1839, James Emmott Caldwell, a New York City trained jeweler, began to supply wealthy Philadelphians with stylish European jewelry, silver, and objets d'art. Business soon flourished and over several decades, the store moved to more fashionable premises in Chestnut Street also changing owners several times. In 1868, the firm was officially established as J.E. Caldwell and Co.and towards the end of the nineteenth century, the firm began to hand fabricate beautiful gem-set jewels which are heralded among the finest examples of American Art Nouveau and Art Deco jewelery. Caldwell were 'the' jeweler to the establishment in the city of brotherly love, their clientele consisting mostly of married and conservative people. Around the turn of the century, finely chased surfaces, were combined with unusual gemstones such as Opals, complimented with typical Nouveau motifs: curvaceous women, vines, garlands, flowers, and insects. Throughout the 1920’s, the firm produced fine pieces of Art Deco jewelry, now well sought after by collectors. The company’s tradition of using fine Opals continued into the Deco period, and beyond, whereas Opal was no longer the gemstone of choice in the new era. J.E. Caldwell continues to offer high quality jewels according to the current styles. www.jecaldwell.com
In 1847 Louis-Francois Cartier founded his business, in Paris, joined by his son Alfred. During the Art Deco era grandsons Louis, Pierre, and Jean-Jacques took over, opening salons in Paris, London and New York. They parlayed the company's distinctive oriental-influenced style, diamond set platinum jewels and technical excellence into a famous worldwide empire. In 1972, a private investment group bought Cartier Paris. A separate boutique product line named 'Les Must de Cartier' was developed at the time to appeal to the public at large. The merger of "Cartier" and "Les Must de Cartier" took place in 1981. In 1983 Eric Naussbaum began attending auctions worldwide to build the Cartier Collection, which now constitutes a priceless record of this amazing House's creativity. Several important pieces in the collection, dating from the 1930's to the 1960s', reveal an affinity with Opal had by the London firm ran by Jean-Jacques Cartier. In 1993 Cartier became a part of Richemont's Vendôme Luxury Group. Cartier's current creative director Jacqueline Karachi-Lagane is clearly sympathetic: "The Opal is poetic. Imagine a lake. All the colours are reflected by moonlight. This is what the Opal is to me. It is like fireworks." www.cartier.com
Born in China into a traditional Chinese cultural environment, Wallace completed rigorous training as an ivory sculptor and studied art at university. A self-taught person by nature, in the mid 1980’s he invented the so called "Wallace Cut," an image-carving and reflecting technique incorporating elements of cameo, intaglio and gem faceting. A rich practical knowledge of metallurgy and machinery lead him to combine different kinds of gems, like Opals, and various metals which resist a creative idea because they are not easily combinable, he “marries” them until they are melted or cast into a unity. Creative influences include traditional art realism, Buddhist art and Greco-Roman mythic motifs. Particularly renowned by collectors in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Germany where his works are available in selected venues. 1987 winner of the Hong Kong Jewellery Design Grand Award. Chan’s Motto: Nature conceives, I complete. www.wallace-chan.com
The famous Parisian fashion house founded by the late couturier Coco Chanel in 1909. Chanel is synonymous with haute couture and perfumery and is one of the most recognized labels in the luxury goods industry. Coco Chanel was a leader of the 20th century costume jewellery movement. In 1932 Madamemoiselle Chanel exhibited her first fine jewelry collection, consisting of diamonds and platinum jewels. In 1993 the House of Chanel launched 'Fine Jewelry' with the creation of new pieces and the reissue of the outstanding models of 1932. Today innovative interpretations of the brand identity are causing Chanel to introduce more colourful gemstones into their repertoire. The design philosophy remains true to the founders intention, as Coco Chanel said to Harpers Bazaar in 1923, "Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance". Privately held, la Maison de Chanel is jointly owned, by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, the grandsons of the early Chanel partner Pierre Wertheimer. www.chanel.com
Originally founded in 1780 by Marie-Etienne Nitot, as Nitot & Sons, the firm became the official jeweler to Napoleon’s court. Among their achievements were the Consular sword, the tiara of Pius VIIand the grand gemstone parures, including Opal sets, ordered by the Empresses Jospehine and Marie-Louise. Joseph Chaumet, joined the firm by marriage in the mid 1870s, assuming corporate leadership in 1885, he later renamed the firm. Joseph Chaumet's creativity and naturalistic approach created romantic jewels catapulting him to the pinnacle of Belle Epoque design. Chaumet served as the jeweler to many of the royal houses of Europeand won numerous awards at international exhibitions, aigrettes and tiaras became the company's signature items. Through the 1960s and 1970s, Chaumet's animal and flower jewels were prominent. The firm expanded its market share introducing watch designs. Now owned by LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, Chaumet has numerous boutiques across the globe. www.chaumet.com
Known as the 'Queen of Colour', Crevoshay is a major opal advocate who attracted award-winning attention from the beginning of her career. Having graduated with honors from VCU in Richmond Virginia, Paula won a full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin earning a Master of Arts degree in 1977. Marrying the Fulbright Scholar George Crevoshay in 1978 she moved to India for three years where she had two solo shows of her paintings and sculptures. The British Council of the Arts collected several of these works.Having been inspired by the antiquity of Asia, upon her return to America in 1981 she launched her first collection of one-of-a-kind art jewels. Awards and achievements as a jeweller, very quickly put her at the fore front of modern design. Combining the disciplines of fine art, gemmology and history, Crevoshay has gained renown as one of the leading designers of our time. Her works have been shown at such museums as the Smithsonian and the Carnegie, they may be found in many important public and private collections. www.crevoshay.com
Renowned French jewellery designer Lydia Courteille refers to her creations as ‘conversational jewels’. Each piece a story waiting to be read, combines her life-long antiquarian passions and fondness of the extraordinary. Precious metals, blooming with roses, pumpkins, orchids or fruit and alive with frogs, snakes, bats, wasps, or monkeys adorned with diamonds are on familiar terms with gargantuan stones, cut to amaze. Every window display in her 19th century Parisian boutique on Rue Saint Honoré has its colour, its theme; Opal, turquoise, jade, coral, ivory. Lydia prefers the rarity of coloured stones such as Australian Black Opals cut en cabochon to best show the mosaic colours of these unusual gems. Lydia Courteille is more than a collection; it is a world of lost legends, the diabolical made beautiful, and the coming-together of vintage design and a dreamlike vision.’- Lane Crawford. The big names of the Place Vendome don’t hesitate to inspire themselves from her “no limit” imagination.- Louise Chancenet, 'Please!'. VIP clients read like a who’s who roll call; Agnés B., Brooke Shields, Catherine Deneuve, Daniele Steel, Diane von Furstenberg, Isabelle Huppert, Janet Jackson, John Galliano, Juliette Binoche, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Moss, Mariah Carey, Mick Jagger, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Coppola, Sophie Marceau, Stella McCartney etc. www.lydiacourteille.com
Salvador Dali (1904- 1989) was accomplished in all forms of art, his jewelry as per his paintings, reflect the Surrealist movement. A fascination with dreams and mythology helped shape his most popular theme, metamorphosis. He has famously collaborated with great names in jewelry including Verdura and Piaget. His first pieces of jewelry were commissioned by Eric Ertman of Finland and a number were displayed at the Milan Triennale, 1954. An expanding collection passed into the possession of the Owen Cheatham Foundation with whom Alemany of New York have an exclusive option to make the Dali designs.
Born in Australia in 1931 Stuart Devlin is an internationally renowned sculptor, silversmith and jewellery designer. He won a competition to design Australia’s first decimal currency coinage issued in 1965. Devlin went on to design coinage for more than 30 countries and designed several hundred trophies and medals including the order of Australia. In 1967 he started making a series of unique decorative Easter eggs for which he is well known. He delighted his patrons with these as gifts; the egg he made in 1974 contained an Opal mosaic and is a renowned objet d’virtu. Based in London's West End, Devlin is a great patriot who has expertly crafted Australia’s National Gemstone into his distinctive masterpieces on numerous occasions. In 1980, the Queen conferred on him the Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George “for services to the art of design” and in 1982 he was granted the Royal Warrant of appointment as Goldsmith and Jeweller to Her Majesty the Queen.
Founded in Paris in 1946 and now owned by LVMH. As the newest entrant to fine jewellery creation of the famed Parisian luxury brands Dior has been fond of the fashionable palette of colours found in Opal. Creative director Victoire de Castellane is enamoured of Opals and the value equation of size and colour Opals offer. Opals and coloured stones of all types are preferred for use in the portrayal of extravagant nature inspired designs and huge cocktail rings. “Opal is particularly hard to work with, because it’s very fragile. In my opinion, the opal is magical, because it contains all colours. I love the fact that it is alive and full of water. There is a superstition around this stone that originated from a time when people in the workshops had to pay for these very fragile stones when they were broken. So they gave the opal a bad reputation in order to avoid working with them!” De Castellane says with a laugh.
Henry Dunay Designs was launched in 1965. Dunay began ‘faceting’ gold in 1967, hand rendered textures would become his signature and most important selling innovation. Recognized as one of the leading jewelers in America, and an international star, Dunay has won 53 awards in as many years. He crafts his detailed creations in yellow gold incorporating rare gemstones, particularly Opals of all types. Always designing with an eye for how a piece will look on a woman and to achieve harmony of line and balance. Dunay shuns mass-market production, his sculptural forms are miniature art objects and each piece is one-of-a-kind. His client list reads like a who’s who of celebrities, including; Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Hilary Clinton, Danielle Steel, Liz Taylor, Salma Hayek, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Pricess Diana, Baz Luhrman, Leonardo Di Caprio…. Dunay maintains a studio and workshop in New York City. www.henrydunay.com
Founded in Paris in 1840, Dusausoy sold antiques and jewellery of their own design. The Dusausoy mark was registered by Mrs. Dusausoy in 1889, she was joined by her son Justin, a registered jeweller, in 1912. His sons, Jean and later Pierre, joined the company who were now also noteworthy stone dealers specialised in re-mounting old stones. The firm attended numerous international exhibitions from the ‘Salons des Industries d’Art’ at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in the Louvre in 1922 until the ‘Exposition Internationale’ in 1937. The Maison was awarded a Gran Prix in 1925 at the ‘Exposition des Arts Décoratifs’ in Paris, for which Dusausoy made an Opal brooch – a modern looking jardinière brooch centralising an oval Opal which was surrounded by geometric ruby-set flowers. Recognized by George Fouquet for ‘showing beautiful stones…in combinations of lines ingeniously arranged’, a purchase from Dusausoy would come in a large taupe-brown velvet box with supports for just four clips which one could wear in up to 30 given combinations, as a tiara, bracelets, or different brooch compositions with the emphasis on the geometric lines inspired by Cubism and reminiscent of the Raymond Templier style. Andy Warhol purchased a set, which were produced in limited quantity and are extremely rare collectables. The firm ceased trading in 1970.
Established 1854 in Copenhagen. Jewellers to the Royal Court of Denmark and Greece, and to the Imperial Court of Russia. Presented at numerous exhibitions over several generations.
Etta B.Goodstein found her calling as a teenager in 1968, attending her first silversmith class in high school. She began her working career as a freelance silversmith on Charles Street Boston, in 1970. From there life took her to the Communes in New Hampshire where she evolved as a character and an artist. In 1972, Etta established her own retail studio and began the journey which has taken her around the world in search of the colourful gemstones that adorn her unique jewelry, sculpture, and wearable art creations. Etta is a venerated member of her West Dennis community in the Cape Cod area. Etta has a long history of activism with respect to the environment and in political leadership as an active member of the Democratic Party. ‘Jewelry by Etta’ is entwined with natural color changing gemstones; tourmalines, Australian pink and champagne diamonds and especially Australian Opals crafted in karat gold or sterling silver. A passion for ethical and organically engaging gems, particularly Boulder Opals, is shared by her clients whose families (including the Kennedy clan) cherish them as heirlooms. www.jewelrybyetta.com
Peter Carl Faberge grew up working for his father's jewelry business in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1872, Faberge took control of the company. A master goldsmith, Faberge drew inspiration from the fabulous collections housed at the Hermitage museum. He was appointed jeweler to the Imperial Court, where he achieved his greatest fame, fabricating 50 jeweled Imperial Easter eggs between 1885 and 1916. Faberge produced miniatures carved in gemstones and set with precious trappings in prolific amounts, several exemplary pieces contain Opals. His patrons included worldwide royalty and the social elite of the era. His jewelry designs and sculptures captivated the world. Faberge fled Russia in 1917 following the October Revolution. He died in Switzerland in 1920, leaving behind a legacy for unparalleled technical mastery of metalwork. Faberge brand now belongs to Unilever Corporation and continues to produce lavishly detailed jewelry and art objects utilizing the techniques and tools reminiscent of the originals from St. Petersburg.
Felter draws his inspiration from the beautiful Valle Camonica in his native Northern Italy. Once home to the prehistoric Camuni people, the valley is famous for its prolific rock carvings. These petroglyphs are some of the earliest art forms and have fascinated Mauro since childhood. This inspiration is evident in his strictly handmade rings, pendulant style earrings and bold cuffs, each designed with a formidable, earthy look. Cabochon and freeform organic gems are favourites, combined with raw nugget-like textures wrought into gold, silver and bronze jewels. "The night blue sky with its stars has been the inspiration for some of my jewels belonging to the Midnight Star collection” Says Mauro. Coincidentally the collection features boulder opals in all the pieces. Most of his 'Warrior' collection contains opals including fire opals which also feature in his 'Fire' collection. Mauro Felter's works have been exhibited in various Italian art galleries, including the prestigious ARTE exhibition in Padova. Felter has designed and created for actors, singers and Italian TV stars, as well as international fashion designers. His works and collections are conceived at his Valle Camonica showroom and workshop, an hour's drive from Milan. www.maurofelter.com
American Paul Flato (1900-1999) opened his first shop at 1 East 57th Street in New York City in the late 1920's, several years before Tiffany & Co. relocated to their current address just across the street. In 1937, Flato opened a branch on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, his popularity reached its zenith in 1930-40s Hollywood where his lavish creations adorned the likes of Merle Oberon, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Charlie Chaplin, Katherine Hepburn and Hopalong Cassidy. Flato's style was design oriented, his designers were Adolph Kleaty, George Headley and Fulco di Verdura, the results are often humorous yet always characterized by refined lines and impeccable craftsmanship. The business closed in the US in the late 1940s, in 1970 he opened a shop in the fashionable Zona Rosa district of Mexico City. Flato had a fondness for jelly and fire Opals from which he liked to create large chunky rings - he claimed "I have the finest Mexican Opal collection in the world. The opal is the only stone that cannot be imitated due to the inner light." Several blocks down from Flato at 208 Hamburgo, a Japanese businessman owned the Mexico Opal Co.which offered plenty of competition. Flato passed away in Dallas, Texas, at age 98.
A family business founded by Alphonse Fouquet (1828-1911), spanned three generations, as his son Georges and later, grandson Jean worked tirelessly creating classic Art Nouveau designs. Georges' work rivaled that of Lalique; although Georges Fouquet is considered more versatile. Georges collaboration with artist Alfonse Mucha, in 1900, created spectacular plique-a-jour enamel designs. Their collaborative effort on an Opal inlaid serpent bracelet created for actress Sarah Bernhardt solidified their place in jewelry history. Georges worked alongside his son throughout the Art Deco era until the mid 1930s, when the company closed its doors.
The Crown jewellers established in 1735. Descending from George Wickes the famous 18th century silversmith in the Haymarket. In 1802 the Garrard family name was cemented when Robert Garrard Snr took control. The company became one of the leading British silversmiths and maintained a silver and jewel factory as well as a shop in Albemarle street, making many British and foreign crown jewels. Prince Albert commissioned numerous Opal jewels by Garrard often providing the designs himself. In 1952 the company was acquired and moved to 112 Regent Street. In 1961 Garrard won first prize in the DeBeers Jewellery competition. Although later merged the company encountered difficulties during WWII and discontinued in 1963. The year 2002 heralded a dynamic re-launch of Garrard onto the international stage.
Master jeweller and Opal miner Barbara Gasch originates from Darmstadt, Germany. Having studied at the College of Fine Arts in Berlin and the Art Academy in Prague she completed her master’s certificate in Frankfurt. Trained under master goldsmiths Horst Seifert and Rudolf Deutler, Barbara opened her own shop in Watzeviertel in 1969 and participated in an International Exhibition called Schmuck & Objekte in Zurich in 1971. In the 1980s she travelled around Australia and settled in White Cliffs where she spontaneously bought a dugout. She later opened her shop Outback Treasures there and is renowned for her one-of-a-kind jewellery and jewelled objects. At White Cliffs Barbara began placing insects, leaves and seed cases in an electroplating bath dipping the objects in a precious metal 'wrap'. She is passionate about the harsh, brutal and beautiful nature of the climate, flora and fauna she is surrounded with at White Cliffs. “In the Outback every creature is a survivor, there are no rules or expectations nor is one’s imagination restricted. You just are what you are.” Gasch likes to integrate something weird in her jewellery such as snake skeletons, opalised shells and worms, mice tails and paws, lizard skins, scorpions and grapevines. Whilst Barbara’s work has a deep connection to ancient forms, her confronting and powerful expression is truly modern and ideal for enhancing the individuality of the wearer. Author of ‘Eye of the beholder: a life in jewellery’
An Opal enchantress who has been creating unique jewellery since the early 1990's, using silver, 22K gold, Opals, pearls, tourmalines, wood and Japanese Washi paper. Linda George was born in Papua New Guinea, studied visual arts at Melbourne University and was mentored by Raina Ham and Tim Peel. Linda’s primary passion is Queensland Boulder Opal which she discovered whilst travelling around Australia in a Kombi with her daughter. Every winter Linda takes all her tools to the opal fields in White Cliffs and Southwest Queensland, where she sets opal for the miners and tourists, whilst sourcing rough Opal to cut and carve. Linda won the Peoples choice award in Yowah in 2011. Linda’s work is all forged and fabricated by hand, her designs are inspired by; mother nature, tribal cultures, Japanese art and Faeries which she believes are 'nature spirits'.
Carlo Giuliano (1831-1895) moved with his family from Italy to England in the mid 19th century, where he began to make granulated gold jewelry in the ancient Greek and Roman style. This 'Archaeological' style was popular at the time and his contemporaries the Castellani family were also based in London. Giuliano’s workshop was in his name after 1860 and in 1874 he opened a retail shop with his son under the name Carlo and Arthur Giuliano. By the 1870s, archaeological-style jewelry had lost much of its appeal, and the Renaissance style was capturing attention. Rather than replicate Renaissance jewelry, Giuliano sensitively interpreted it to suit late 19th century taste and the company blossomed. Precise enameling and careful attention to detail mark truly original designs. Giuliano’s superb yet understated pieces were enriched with a modest combination of gems including cabochon Opals. Patrons included Queen Victoriaand the Prince of Wales. Collaborations with Castellani and artist Edward Burne-Jones, a leader of the Aesthetic movement, resulted in a successful range of designs. Collectors and connoisseurs alike seek out Giuliano jewelry, the pieces are still fresh and feel heavy compared with other Victorian pieces, because Giuliano worked only in solid gold.
Andrew Grima (1921-2007) was born in Rome of an Italian mother and Maltese embroidery designer father, his family moved to London when he was a child. There he would later establish himself as one of the most prominent jewellers of his era, helping to revolutionise modern jewellery. He changed the tastes of the buying public accustomed to trinkets worn by their parents. Having studied engineering, an interest in structural aspects and the experimentation of new techniques informs his works, as does his willingness to compete with industrial production. The ability to combine manufacturing requirements with the aesthetics of the jewel is the underlying theme of his work. Grima made watches-jewels for Omega, where the focus on mechanics generated precious and futuristic textures. Andrew Grima developed the contemporary trend for texture and abstract (organic and rough-hewn) shapes and even the use of objet trouvés. Grima was the first modern, living jeweller since the likes of Cartier, Boucheron, Chaumet and Van Cleef & Arpels, to open stores in New York, Sydney and Tokyo, reaching his zenith in the 1960s and 70s, when he won an amazing 11 De Beers Diamond International Design Awards. The British royal family bought his jewels both for themselves and as State gifts. www.grimajewellery.com
Established in 1966 by Ivan Vortuni, the House of Giulians' iconic George Street showroom in Sydney is world renowned for impeccable service and one of the finest collections of Australian precious gemstones. Over the years Giulians has served numerous famous clients including entertainment superstar Michael Jackson. Giulians is a family run company specialising in the highest quality Australian opals, South Sea Pearls and Pink Diamonds. All jewellery is designed and handcrafted exclusively by their own in house designers and jewelers, overseen by award winning jeweler Gary Coffey. www.giulians.com.au
GUILD OF HANDICRAFT
Charles Ashbee established the Guild of Handicraft in 1888 in order to develop techniques and aesthetics in jewellery, as well as in furniture and metalwork. Ashbee who was inspired by John Ruskin’s writings and William Morris’s work, started his career as an architect and was one of the first designers in the Arts and Crafts Movement to experiment with jewellery. C.R.Ashbee collaborated with other British jewellers, including John Paul Cooper to produce a range of items including belt or waist buckles, clasps, hatpins, pendants and brooches. Fine craftsmanship and ideologies of the medieval period inspired their work, including the use of naturally hewn stones such as split faces of Boulder Opal. It was essentially a reaction to the shoddy machine-made goods that had been created by industrialization in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Despite being the main inspiration for the Wiener Werkstatte and the fact that their designs were much copied by Liberty & Co., the Guild went into voluntary liquidation in 1907.
Founded in 1912, this New York based manufacturer of the very finest precious gemstone jewelry is one of only a handful of family-owned workshops still dedicated to European-style craftsmanship and "by hand" fabrication. The family of six brothers and three sisters emigrated from Latvia in the early 1900's. Having apprenticed at a Faberge workshop in Russia, two of the brothers had extensive experience with platinum, a new metal at that time. Another brother was skilled at tool making. Together, they were able to establish a self-contained company where quality could be monitored at all stages. In time, the firm manufactured and supplied jewelry for the most prestigious American jewelry houses of the 1930s. Flower brooches became the company's signature item. Their magnificent creations are often purposely unstamped as a discretion to their trade customers and may require specialist authentication. The tradition continues as the family owned and operated company makes its own tools, alloys its own platinum and gold, selecting the finest gems, amongst them the most magnificent Black Opals, from which they design and create jewels for the most discerning clientele. Oscar Heyman is a preferred supplier and a key source for the finest retail jewelers worldwide.
“Marianne’s pieces incorporate gemstones, enamel and precious metals with poetry and symbolism that her fans say bring out people’s emotions, imaginations and even inspiration,” said Elise Misiorowski, director of the GIA Museum. Hunter says her defining moment in life was when she was given a hobby enameling kit after high school. Largely self-taught, she learned the enameling process, metalsmithing, and, through experimentation, came up with techniques of her own. She says each piece is a story she tells herself while she works. She begins the design process by searching for the theme, and the inspiration can come from anywhere: an Opal, a personal experience, a careful study, or the flash of an idea. The sustaining theme is always to articulate the beauty, mystery and benevolence of the world. Her work includes three to five firings of black enamel over copper or silver for the background, which is then built up and fired with very thin layers of enamels. A piece is finished using very fine mesh of white enamel over black, then colored foils, and more transparent enamels. Additional layers of enamels and foils are built and fired until the full range of desired color, shading and detail is achieved. One completed piece can require from 12 to more than 100 firings. Every piece is unique and is completed with an engraving of its title, individual number, date and Hunter’s signature. A poem written especially for the piece is etched on the back of the item as well. Each piece is registered to its owner. Hunter’s work is on display in several museums in the U.S. (including the Smithsonian), Canada, and Japan and has graced numerous books, including the Art of Fine Enameling and Art Jewelry Today. www.hunter-studios.com
Ornella grew up looking at mountains but the 28-year-old French Alps native now expresses her fascination for geological formations from her workshop in the gritty urban arts precinct of Deptford in South East London. Inspired by nature and alchemy, Ianuzzi, who has worked for Van Cleef & Arpels' at their Place Vendôme headquarters and has a masters in goldsmithing, silversmithing and metalwork from London's Royal College of Art. Her wearable landscapes combine minerals with vegetal elements to create strikingly unusual organic shapes. She has been collecting minerals and stones since she was a child and recalls her first trove from a trip to a mineral fair with her mother and sister - a bag of very small free-form tiger's eye, haematite, agate, chalcedony, chrysoprase, amethyst and rose quartz: "I just loved the mix of their colours together, their texture as well as the noise that they made rubbing against one another." Ornella travelled to Ethiopia to source Wello opals and continues to be inspired by the magical landscape, legends, heritage, faith, food and people of that ancient land. On Opal: "I used to admire them in Rene Lalique's jewellery and it was the first gem I'd ever bought when I became a jeweller. It is a truly captivating and mysterious stone. They come alive with the light and are always changing and flashing different colours through their fires." www.ornella-ianuzzi.com
John or Isky as he is known to his many friends within the Australian trade established himself in 1963 and comes from an Armenian family of jewellers who traded in Jerusalem. Winner of numerous awards, the De Beers Award in 1985, he counts President Bill Clinton as a client. To mark the birth of little Prince Christian of Denmark born in October, and whose birthstone is Opal, the Jewellers Association on behalf of the Australian people presented a Boulder Opal pendant encased in gold to HRH Crown Princess Mary and a set of custom made Opal and gold cuff links to HRH Crown Prince Frederik on the 6 August 2006 at Fredensborg Palace. These jewels were both superbly crafted by Mr. John Iskenderian of Sydney.
In 1904 Danish sculptor Georg Jensen founded his silversmith business in Copenhagen.His unique designs embrace elegant lines, organic motifs and simplicity of form that made him a commercial success. Not tied to one artistic arena, Georg Jensen created masterful works in jewelry, cutlery and hollowware. His brightly polished creations, both pure and timeless, encompassed Art Nouveau and Avant-Garde styles. Georg Arthur Jensen died in 1935, his legacy is that of one of the most influential silversmiths of the 20th century, his extraordinary vision lives on; The privately held company continues to cultivate new design talent and produces fine jewelry, watches, gift items and cutlery in gold, sterling silver, stainless steel and precious gems. Georg Jensen is a global luxury brand with 1000 employees, present in more than 12 countries, through an international retail network of more than 100 stores. www.georgjensen.com
Born in Melbourne in 1983 to a Greek-Australian mother and German father. Katherine grew up between idyllic Noosa and overseas in England, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. She speaks several languages and is an Aussie at heart. Katherine received the top International Baccalaureate Art Prize for the Northern Hemisphere Academic Year in 2001.Her family congratulated her with pretty blue opal from which she created her first ring. This inspiration developed as she continued her academic pursuits, acquiring a Bachelors Degree in Clinical Psychology from University College of London, and then a foundation in finance at JP Morgan. Katherine was drawn back to her passion for design and fine jewelry. To improve her proficiency she attended the globally renowned and prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and became certified as a Graduate Gemologist and Jewelry Designer. Katherine has worked for De Beers and other designer jewellers in both Europe and the US. Now based in USA she has established a successful business designing her own proprietary lines and one of a kind pieces for private clients. www.katherinejetter.com
KAUFMANN DE SUISSE
Founded in 1954 by Swiss master goldsmith and jeweller E. Pius Kaufmann in Montreal Quebec. Best known for his Art Nouveau inspired "flowing lines” collection, combining softly curving strands of 18K gold or platinum with diamonds, this signature series is renowned for its simplicity and technical achievement. Kaufmann de Suisse has built a reputation for rare and important gemstones set within this distinct style. This elite jeweller has long maintained a permanent Opal collection, masterfully selecting and crafting only the finest Australian Opals. Joined by his sons and later daughter Moneca, the family-run company now operates three luxury jewellery boutiques; in Montreal, Quebec; Madison Ave New York City, and Palm Beach, Florida. Exclusively available in their stores, every piece of jewellery is hand made, signed and numbered to give it lasting integrity. Winners of six Diamonds International Awards, this is one of the few jewellery houses to create made-to-order designs in-house by their own traditional European style workshops. www.kaufmanndesuisse.ca
Rene Lalique (1860-1945) began his career as a freelance jewelry designer for acclaimed houses Cartier and Boucheron. In 1885, he opened his own workshop where he produced spectacular sculptural pieces through the use of unique materials such as glass, horn, Opal, enamel and textured gold. His designs seamlessly wove fantasy and nature together. The theory of metamorphosis and its affect on the female figure created some of the most dramatic imagery known to art, let alone jewelry. Lalique is indisputably the master of Art Nouveau jewelry design. Actress Sarah Bernhardt brought Lalique great fame by promoting his designs, which she boldly wore on-stage and at public events. Under the patronage of oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, Lalique created 145 commissioned pieces, many contain Opals and they head the line-up for the leading exhibition at the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.
LIBERTY & CO.
Established by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875, the luxury department store on London’s Regent Streetbegan selling ornaments, fabric and objets d'art from Japan and the East. The iconic Liberty fabrics were used for both clothing and furnishings. Arthur L. Liberty intended to change the look of fashion and this extended to jewellery, which had first been imported from Germany. Immediate success justified the development of a range of fabrics and jewellery for the company’s aspiring middle class clientele. Liberty employed numerous, mainly unknown English artist designers, and by 1901, had invested significantly in machine mass production. Archibald Knox was the major force behind Liberty & Co.’s jewellery design. Due to Knox, the Celtic Revival of Liberty & Co., was for a short time to exemplify English Art Nouveau to such an extent that in Italy, the style became known as the Stile Liberty. Liberty & Co. was prolific in the production of Opal encrusted jewellery in both silver and gold, prominently set in pendants and necklaces. Numerous silverware objet d’art including cultlery sets, vases and cigar boxes were lavished with Opals as well as agates, turquoise, pearls and enamel. The Liberty department store, brand-name and design archives belong to MWB Group Holdings plc, founded by Richard Balfour-Lynn and listed on the London Stock Exchange. www.liberty.co.uk
Ian (Mac) Macarthur began his career in the jewellery business working as a store hand for Dunklings jewellers of Melbourne, soon after leaving school. Mac is a specialised Opal jeweller who has perfected his techniques over 40 years. Having competed in the Designer Jewellery Competition at the annual Yowah Opal Festival since it started in 1997 Mac has won numerous awards. A quintessential Yowah Opal advocate, Mac is passionately taken by his eternal feature gemstone. Combining exotic native leathers with artistic lapidary and wholistic jewellery design he creates adventurous opal-laden objet, from breastplates to pocketknives. In the early 1990’s Mac Art Jewellery was established as a studio/gallery in the picturesque town of Bellingen on the New South Wales coast. www.macsopals.com
Joseph Marchak established his firm in 1878. Known as the 'Cartier of Kiev', Marchak was a household name in Russia, he and his contemporary Faberge were the appointed jewellers to the Romanov Tsars. His son Alexander Marchak immigrated to Paris from Russia at the start of the Russian Revolution, rising to prominence during the Art Deco period, having exhibited at the 1925 Paris Exhibition of Decorative Arts. Favourite themes were birds and floral sprays, all highly romanticized and decorated in the most colourful precious and semi-precious gemstones including Opals. www.marchak.fr
Dresden jeweler Hermann Marcus left Germany for New York in the 1850s. He worked for Tiffany & Co., followed by Ball, Black and Company before partnering with Theodore B. Starr in the firm, Starr & Marcus. Following a brief return to Tiffany's, he entered into partnership with his son William's business in 1884. The name officially became Marcus & Company in 1892. The firm rose to prominence during the 1920s and 1930s. They manufactured expensive diamond jewels, as well as artistic jewelry featuring cut Opals engraved in-house and plique-a-jour enamel in the Art Nouveau style. Famous for spectacular flower brooches: pansies, morning glories, orchids, et al, the company flourished during the Art Nouveau era. Along with their New York office, Marcus & Co. operated branches in Paris, Bombay, Palm Beach and London. The business merged with Black, Starr & Frost in 1962.
Established by Mario Antolovich in 1975 at the goldenmile in Surfers Paradise on Queensland's Gold Coast. Mariora jewellery is individually created using the finest Queensland Boulder Opals and Black Opals, 18kt gold and platinum complimented by fine quality diamonds. Australian born designer Helen S. Parer, daughter of the founder, heads a team of talented designers who have won numerous awards at the Australian Jewellery Design Awards including the Grand Prix Trophy in 1992. Mariora’s office in Osaka Japan distributes under the brand name. www.mariora.com.au
The son of London born jeweller John Marks, who moved his family to Sydney in 1880. At 14 Percy Marks was apprenticed to jeweller R.H. Jenkins. At twenty he married and started his own business in Market Street. In 1900 Percy first learnt of the dark Opal from the Wallangulla Opal fields. In 1907 Marks went to Lightning Ridge and returned “…with two suitcases packed with the most glorious Opal I have ever seen in one lot.” and immediately set out to prove the market potential of what he called the ‘orchid of gems’. By 1908 Marks was advertising his appointment as a vice-regal jeweller. Having created a collection for public display he began promoting Australia’s National Gemstone tirelessly. Winner of a Gran Prix at the Franco-British Exhibition in London in 1908 and in San Francisco at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915. In 1919 the NSW state government commissioned him to inquire into the marketing of Opals in Europe and USA. Marks exhibited at the Foire Internationale de Lyon and to eight museums in France whose government appointed him Officier d’Instruction Publique. A polished courtier he delighted in gifting jewels of his design and once famously presented each of his female guests with silver-papered ‘chocolates’, in reality Black Opals. Keenly aware of the power of celebrity he gave Opals to; French actress Mlle Alice Delysia, Dame Nellie Melba, Elsa Stralia, American Bandmaster J.P. Sousa and aviator Amy Johnson. In 1934 Marks selected and mounted an Opal presented to the Duke of Gloucester by the Federal Retail Jewellers Association. He made a miniature Opal casket for Queen Mary’s doll house and an Opal pendant for the Dutchess of York. In 1935 Percy was awarded a King George V Silver Jubilee. Through his sons, Percy Jnr. and Rolf, his grandson Ken and now great–grandson Cameron, the Marks family perspective on jewellery, style and culture spans four generations since 1899. Percy Marks flagship store is situated at 60-70 Elizabeth Street Sydney. www.percymarks.com.au
Spanish jeweler Josep Masriera i Vidal was born into a family of jewelers and artisans. Masriera opened his workshop in the silversmiths quarter of Barcelona in 1839. Later joined by his son Lluis, a creative genius and inventor who rose to fame during the Art Nouveau movement. His series of winged nymphs are some of the most important pieces of the period. Masriera is credited with formulating a specialized enameling technique referred to as "Barcelona Enamel". The process took translucent enamel and blended it with an element inducing luminosity; the newly minted enamel was then formed in relief, adding texture, volume, and depth, creating a sculptural quality to the individual design. The legacy continues through the faithful execution of Lluis Masriera's designs taken from original drawings and made from the actual molds. In 1985 Masriera y Carrera was the resulting merger of Spain's two great houses. The brands were since seperated and Bagues-Masriera is now part of Carrera Y Carrera which is a public company. www.masriera.es
It was Paris1827, the year when the House of Mauboussin opened. The firm specialized in highly stylized architectural jewels set with precious gems of vibrant hue, often Opals, accented by sparkling white diamonds. They exhibited at the 1925 International Exhibition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, and won the grand prize. Georges Mauboussin believed that jewelry should reflect the wearer's personality with a jeweled accent. Its Reflection series struck a chord with socialites and celebrities, such as Marlene Dietrich, who flocked to Mauboussin. The company opened offices in Buenos Aires and London prior to New York, in 1929. The ill-timed opening of their New York branch coincided with the stock market crash the same year. A weakened Mauboussin merged with Trabert & Hoeffer, Inc.
REX MERTEN STEELE
An internationally acknowledged craftsman, Rex comes from a family of jewellers. He began his career in 1953 as an apprentice at Hardy Brothers in Sydney and has combined designing and drawing skills with his deeply accomplished and extensive manufacture. Rex is the only Australian jeweller to have won four Diamonds International Awards (firstly in 1966), the "Oscars" of the international jewellery world. He has won numerous Australian Jewellery Design Awards and most recently won the Platinum Guild Award in Tokyo in 1989. Rex is a professionally qualified teacher specialising in a wide variety of hand techniques and gem setting. “My favourite [gemstone] would be Australian Opal – it’s more rare than diamonds and it’s not a renewable resource” - Rex Merten. His record number of wins earned him a place in the elite diamonds international academy, its membership numbering just over 50 in the world.
Bruno Moser; a Swiss born jeweller, moved his family to the opalfields of Andamooka (South Australia) in 1952. From there he exported opals to Japan, the USA and Europe. Today, the family business Moser is world-renowned for miniature gemstone sculptures - incorporating all gemstones with a spectacular emphasis on Opal. Initially known for their unique cutting abilities, the exceptional craftsmanship, quality and purity of their gemstone compositions continues as Moser sculptural jewellery takes inspiration from wind, water and the flow of nature - which embodies their characteristic style. Each of Moser’s jewellery designs is guided by the natural flow and balance of the sculptured stones. Moser jewellery is exhibited and sold worldwide in galleries, shops and department stores. Moser created bronze sculptures and larger gemstones also adorn public reception areas and private homes. Richard Moser, the founder’s son, heads a team of highly-skilled experts including jewellers, designers and polishers to create Moser jewellery. www.moserjewellery.com
The California born jewelry designer has taken the fashion world by storm, since she founded Irene Neuwirth Inc. in 2000. The couture jewelry designer courts celebrity with an elegant yet quirky modern palette, utilising earthy gems; Labradorite, Boulder Opal, Chrysoprase. Big bold pendulant earrings are a specialty, rendered with multiple freeform boulder opals. These striking opa l-laden jewels have a charming asymmetry, sought after and worn by some of the most beautiful young women; actresses Jenna Tatum, Busy Phillips and Scarlett Johannsen. The details are taken care of; chains are just the right link, length, and scale, matte finish on the gold, clasps are beautifully made, and many have a safety catch. Irene Neuwirth features consistently in Vogue, InStyle, Town & Country, W, Elle and Harper's Bazaar and is available at Barneys of New York where it has been a top selling jewelry brand since 2003. ireneneuwirth.com
Founded by Georges Edouard Piaget in 1874, who produced highly precise mechanical clock movements in his workshop on the family farm in the Jura mountains of Switzerland. Grandsons Gerald and Valentin registered the brand and expanded it geographically. The small village of Cote-aux-Fees became the centre of new developments in the field of ultra-thin mechanical movements, with a new workshop built in 1945. Defining moments include the sensational 1964 launch of ‘Gemstone faced’ watches, the ‘ Cuff’ watch and in 1976 developed the worlds smallest quartz movement. Under the guidance of Yves Piaget since 1980, Piaget has a dozen boutiques around the world and numerous prestige outlets purvey the firm's jewelry and watches. Piaget use only the finest quality rough crystal Opal to make exclusive one-piece Opal faced watches. www.piaget.com
Paloma Picasso is one of the world's most successful jewelry designers. The daughter of famed artist Pablo Picasso, Paloma received her jewelry training at the University of Paris. She worked for renowned Greek jeweller Zolotas, where she created gold jewelry. She joined Tiffany & Co. in 1980 and made a name for herself with her bold, graphic style. Her passion for color is evident in her choice of gemstones: tourmaline, tanzanite, and Opals. Paloma is an advocate for rubelites and fire Opals - two of the brightest, intensely coloured stones yet among the most underrated gems. Picasso prefers 18k yellow gold as her medium, and designs for women with the scope of empowering women to buy jewelry for themselves.
Chilean born Quebecois Claudio takes inspiration from the ancient art of jewellery making, especially the history of rings. Extensive studies, two decades of creative jewellery making and focus have led Pino to explore other dimensions. Pino's amazing multi-finger adornments are like sci-fi sculptures: 'reminiscent of globes spinning on axes, planets circling the sun or mechanical wor...lds with robotic blooms.' Meticulously researched kinetic mechanisms enhance the interplay between ring and wearer. A passion for gemstones and the combination of colours informs each of Pino’s designs. Opals flourish in movement and are often disposed as double-sided or multi-dimensional gems - making them a natural choice and favoured centre stone of Claudio Pino rings. www.pinodesign.net
Leon was apprenticed at Hardy Brothers in Melbourne, where he spent 10 years. He worked in Sydney, several years in Tasmania and later settled in Townsville spending 14 years there as a manufacturing jeweller. Leon and his family made a life change in 2008, moving to the small outback town of Winton in Queensland. Smitten with the local gemstone Leon soon acquired his own Boulder Opal mine, where he loves to take refuge, relax and be inspired. Winner of the professional category at the Queensland Boulder Opal Jewellery Awards in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He was a finalist in the 2006 JAA Design Awards. Determination payed off with a win in the opal category of the Jewellery Association of Australia 2010 Design Awards. Leon and wife Tracy are active members of the Boulder Opal Association, both are great advocates for the gem and industry. Leon's contemporary compositions are characterised by fine craftmanship and innovative use of new and exciting materials. He prefers freeform Opals and exciting shapes accentuated by different textures and coloured golds; green, yellow, pink.
Miwako and Sumihiro Rachi are Tokyo based jewellery artisans. Engaged in the jewellery industry since 1974, they set up studio “Melpool” in 1989 and a showroom in 1997. P art of an elite group of celebrated Japanese designers, Rachi draw their inspiration from the Baroque & Rococo periods and the romanticism of Florence, Rome and Vienna. Particularly fond of blue-green Boulder Opals, which often form the centrepiece of Rachi's compositions.
Established in 1923 as a goldsmith’s workshop in Milan by Domenico and Sara Scavia. Today, Fulvio Maria Scavia is the driving force behind this emerging Italian luxury group, encompassing the fine jewelry brand and a very personal concept of elegance expressed through a collection of precious accessories. Scavia’s unmistakeable style is characterized by the use of bold gemstones and colourful compositions. The creations are skillfully handcrafted from designs which are aesthetically researched and timeless. Scavia operate branded stores in Milan, Bangkok, Tokyo and Moscow. www.scavia.it
Seaman Schepps created one of America's most avant-garde jewelry companies of the 20th century. He started out as a purveyor of jewelry and art objects, prior to designing his own jewels, as of 1926. His boutique in New York City offered one-of-a-kind original designs in the Arts & Crafts Movement. Schepps designed wearable works of art featuring unusual materials, such as shell, ivory, turquoise, Opal, wood, coral, and rock crystal as well as found materials such as glass. The company reached its zenith in the 1940s and 1950s, where bold animal themed designs graced celebrities and high society, alike. Through the patronage of the Rockefellers and the British Royal Family to Marlene Dietrich and Andy Warhol, Seaman Schepps' dazzling jewels graced the covers of Town & Country, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. Although he passed away in 1972, Seaman Schepps legacy of unusual, artistic designs continues to be offered today.
The Brazilian jewelry company, H. Stern, was founded by a young German émigré named Hans Stern in 1945. He got his start buying and selling colored gemstones in Rio de Janeiro. His sharp eye for color was equaled by his interest in creative design. The company's golden rule was that each piece had to be beautiful. Once small, H. Stern has grown to an international manufacturer and South America's largest jeweler with boutiques throughout the world. Under the leadership of Hans Stern's son, Ronaldo, the company continues to design exquisite jewels always set with the finest quality gemstones native to Brazil - a paradise of Gems and major Opal producing nation.
In 1837 Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902) founded the firm that bares his name. The boutique style business retailed stationery, silver, jewelry and objects d'art. Tiffany & Co. are credited with revolutionizing the jewelry industry by the invention of the open six-prong diamond setting and with the growth of their jewelry interests, Tiffany soared. By 1907, the son of the founder, Louis Comfort Tiffany headed the company. He had been internationally acclaimed for his profusion of the arts (painting, interior design, glass and jewelry) before entering the business. As Opal was well suited to his palette Tiffany & Co. became benefactors of Lightning Ridge's infant Black Opal Industry, buying a major share of the early production. Great designers for the brand such as Donald Claflin in 1955, Jean Schlumberger in 1967, Angela Cummings, later Elsa Peretti in 1974 and most recently Paloma Picasso in 1980, were given artistic license to create and sign their collections in-house for Tiffany. www.tiffany.com
VAN CLEEFS & ARPELS
Parisian jeweler Alfred Van Cleef in partnership with his brothers-in-law, Julien and Charles Arpels, opened their first salon at Place Vendome in 1906. The company quickly earned a reputation for using only the highest quality coloured gemstones. Their timeless designs employed elegant curves and clean fluid lines; capturing the essence of beauty in motion. Their success was immediate and led to the opening of several more salons in the pleasure spots of France and abroad. In 1930, the firm patented the first minaudiere, a fancy purse-like compartmentalized lady's vanity case. In 1933, Van Cleef & Arpels introduced "invisible setting", or "mystery setting", a channel setting using calibrated stones without any metal showing from the top. This innovative technique took the market by storm, creating the illusion of floating gems, each stone being fastened by wires from the underside of the piece. Popular throughout the 1930s and 1940s this signature style returned to vogue in the 1990s. Van Cleef & Arpels is a unit of the Richemont group and now operates 70 locations across the globe. www.vancleef-arpels.com
The Sicilian Duke of Verdura, Fulco Santostefano della Cerda, began his career in 1926 as a costume jewelry designer for Coco Chanel. He left Paristo work for Paul Flato in the United States. In 1939, Verdura opened the first of his salons in New York where his love of nature could be fully displayed. It was reflected in his signature designs: the scallop shell, the frame, and the wing. He created animals and figures utilizing shells, Opals, coloured stones and enamel. His fame and influence impacted both the jewelry industry and fashion worlds. Verdura is single handedly credited for renewing interest in enameled jewels. He also implemented the rope motif in modern jewelry, a first. Verdura sold his business and retired to London, where he died in 1978. The company continues to produce fabulous jewels based upon Verdura's original artwork
Born into a New York society family, his father was famed interior designer Carleton Varney and his mother textile designer Suzanne Varney, who traveled extensively together with Nicholas from an early age. Having grown up surrounded by inspired design and educated in some of New York’s finest schools he came to associate jewelry with “love, travel, excitement and happiness”. Coveted in the pages of Vogue, W, New York Times and the Robb Report, Nicholas Varney’s jewelry attracts the attention of private clients, exclusive jewelers and galleries such as Bergdorf Goodman. Known for his artistic use of gems, Opal is an all-time favourite in his pursuit of the world's rarest and most beautiful stones. Often compared to miniature sculptures of museum quality, Varney’s works of art are worthy of being displayed as objects de virtu, better still they are very wearable.Varney says he strives to combine the “bravado of bold American designers such as David Webb and Tony Duquette with fine European craftsmanship.” www.nicholasvarneyjewels.com
The family firm Vever was founded in Paris in 1821. When grandson Henri Vever (1854-1943) took control of the company he was already a distinguished jeweler, writer, and art collector. Vever's artistic approach and his use of enamel was often likened to that of Rene Lalique, and he too was enamoured of Opals. Henri Vever is particularly noted for expertly inlay setting Opals into his lavish creations. The House of Vever accomplished their greatest work during the Art Nouveau period with the highlight being the 1900 Paris Exposition. Maison Vever continued to make fabulous jewelry and objects d'art through the Art Deco era.
Founded in North Wales in 1865 by Morris Wartski. In 1907 two shops were established in the fashionable seaside resort of Llandudno. Business thrived for Wartski under the patronage of King Edward VII and a colourful clientele including Bing Crosby, Jackie O and the Marquis of Anglesey aka. the 'dancing Marquis' who had a penchant for emerald-set ping-pong shirts. Wartski opened premises on Regent Street and has moved shop to Grafton Street in London. Chairman Nicholas Snowman, maternal great-grandson of the founder, continues to support the firm's welcoming and scholarly traditions. Wartski is a family owned firm of antique dealers, specialising in fine jewellery, Silver and Russian works of art, including Faberge. www.wartski.com
Formed in 1946 by partners David Webb and Nina Silberstein, David Webb Inc. created colorful jewelry recognized for its bold, sculptural design. Webb drew inspiration from the work of Cartier, Seaman Schepps, Faberge and Verdura. His passion for color, texture, enamel, gems and unusual materials brought him to the forefront of jewelry design in the 1950s and 1960s. His fondness for nature and ancient cultures influenced his most famous motifs, stylized animals and flowers. David Webb created contemporary wearable gold sculptures until his death in 1975. He left behind a legacy as one of the pioneers of American jewelry design. David Webb Inc. continues to produce jewelry based upon original artwork and sketches under the guidance of the Silberstein family.
Members of the artists’ association ‘Secession’ and Vienna’s Kunstgewerbeschule, (College of Arts and Crafts), founded the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) in 1903. The workshop brought together architects, artists and designers whose first commitment was to design art which would be accessible to everyone. Clientele were mostly artists and the open-minded, progressive and financially well-to-do upper middle class, not the masses. As well as jewellery, leather goods, enamel, postcards, ceramics & clothing the Wiener Werkstätte even had a hat department – in line with the spirit of art as a holistic concept. Protagonist Josef Hoffmann and his main collaborator Koloman Moser created a geometric style whose functional simplicity anticipates later modernism and has influenced the work of many of today's leading designers and architects. Leading names of the period, such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Dagobert Peche, Otto Prutscher, Ernst Lichtblau and Josef Frank created works for the brand. Many of the jewels and metal objects produced were gem-set, often liberally with Opals, and cabouchon coloured stones were preferred. The creations were stamped with three different hallmarks, the trademark of the Wiener Werkstätte, the monogram of the designer and that of the craftsman. The Wiener Werkstätte had 100 employees in 1905, of whom 37 were masters of their trade. Though for a time the products enjoyed tremendous commercial success, which led to the establishment of sales outlets in Karlsbad, Marienbad, Zurich, New York and Berlin, the Wiener Werkstätte went into liquidation in 1932.
Harry Winston first opened shop on New York City's 5th Avenue in 1932. Renowned for having possessed, cut or re-cut many of the world's most spectacular diamonds, Winston generously donated important gemstones and jewels to the Smithsonian museum; Amongst them the Oppenheimer, the Hope, the Portuguese diamond and the Peacock Black Opal brooch. “If I could, I would attach the diamonds directly onto a woman’s skin.” Winston celebrated magnificent stones and was passionate about adorning women with them. Rather than the precious metal shaping his designs, Harry Winston was consumed with the possibility of individual stones. His was a legendary approach with vastly modern results. Harry Winston died in 1978. The business continues to operate in select cities across the World.
Philippe Wolfers (1858-1929) trained in the Brussels workshop of his father, master goldsmith Louis Wolfers. The famous Belgian jeweller, sculptor and glassware designer played an important role in the development of Art Nouveau locally and abroad. Early influences were the Rococo Revival and Japanese art and naturalism. Bythe 1880's, Philippe was the artistic director and designer of the family workshop: Wolfers Frères. He began to create jewellery that was of a sinuous and sensual nature; often curved and decorated with asymmetrically distributed floral motifs. Wolfers’ outstanding creations were well received at the Exposition Internationale Antwerp in 1894 and at the Exposition Internationale Brussels in 1897. Wolfers' success was immediate and resulted in the opening of branches in Antwerp, Liège, Ghent, Düsseldorf, London and Paris. Encouraged by this success Philippe committed Wolfers Frères to the Art Nouveau style. Wolfers exhibited at the Munich Secession 1898-1899 and in 1900 showed an important collection of his jewellery at the Paris Salon. In 1902 he exhibited at the Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa in Turin. Inspired by the Symbolism Movement’s dream-like themes, he plied chased gold or silver with ivory, pearls, rubies, diamonds, Opal or enamel to create luxuriant jewels. Pendants, brooches, belt buckles and hair ornaments decorated with floral, animal and natural designs, sensual female forms, with fluid symbolic ornaments. The House of Wolfers Frères closed their doors in 1975.
Born in Kobe Japan Yamamoto moved to USA in 1968 to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She remained in Boston, initially working with Miye Matsukata at Janiye atelier and gallery until his death in 1981. Opals, especially Boulder Opals emerged as her stone of choice during the 1980’s and they remain a definite favourite. Yamamoto prefers Boulder Opal because of its natural, organic appearance; she views the brownish matrix as a “part of the earth…alive with passionate colour.” Yamamoto’s creations are characterised by a preference for high Karat gold incorporating 18K, 22K, and 24K with matt and etched finishes applied, providing a modern twist on the ancient art of textured gold. Throughout her 35 year career the shape of the stone has informed the design and geometry has been a recurring theme of Yoshiko Yamamoto’s ever evolving and experimental compositions.
RAYMOND C. YARD
Raymond Yard worked for Marcus and Company both behind the scenes in production and then as a salesman before leaving to open his own business in 1922. His New York boutique sold watches and jewelry made of the finest material. An impeccable eye for quality and detail became Raymond Yard's trademark. Rarely advertising, Yard's fame and reputation spread by word of mouth, earning him the patronage of America's finest families: Vanderbilt, Flagler, Rockefeller, Woolworth and Firestone. Amongst others the Du Pont family famously bought numerous Black Opals including the Sydney Queen and they commissioned various Opal jewels by Yard in the late 1960's early 70's. Yard also attracted celebrities such as Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks. A humble man, his jewels are simply marked YARD. Raymond Yard is viewed as one of the prominent Art Deco jewellers. Though Yard retired in 1958 his firm continues today.
Sources & Image Credits:
AMAZING CARTIER: JEWELLERY DESIGN SINCE 1937, Nadine Coleno, 2009.
Article on Rex Steele Merten: ‘Diamond Life’ by Wendy Sheather, Audi Magazine Australia, Issue 2, 2004
Heritage Auction House Jewelers article
Christie's Jewelry Collecting Guide: Master Jewelers
Sondra Schneider – writes of Nicholas Varney in AspenPeak Magazine
Nicholas Varney quoted from Robb Report: Rising Stars
PIAGET WATCHES & WONDERS SINCE 1874, Franco Cologni, Giampiero Negretti & Franco Nencini, 1994.
PAUL FLATO : JEWELLER TO THE STARS, Elizabeth Irvine Bray, 2010.
THE WOLFERS DYNASTY: FROM ART NOUVEAU TO ART DECO, Werner Adriaenssens & Raf Steela,
Paloma Picasso interview with Susan Skelly, QANTAS Magazine February 2010
QUIET RIPPLES: THE CREATIVE JOURNEY OF YOSHIKO YAMAMOTO, Yvonne Markowitz, 2009.
YARD: THE LIFE & MAGNIFICENT JEWELRY OF RAYMOND C. YARD, Natasha Kuzmanovic, 2007.
Dior, De Castellane quote courtesy of solitaire.com.sg
Cartier’s creative director Jacqueline Karachi-Langane, quoted in QANTAS magazine, Special Report: Australian Luxury Goods, April 2011, Helen Pitt.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: A LIFE IN JEWELLERY, Barbara Gasch, Cree Marshall & Otto Rogge(photographer), 2005.
Gillian Fulloon, 'Marks, Percy (1879 - 1935)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, 1986, pp 412-413.
www.dhub.org/articles/1373 (Percy Marks)
PRESTIGE SINGAPORE, 'Rock Solid Foundation', Friday, April 20, 2012 By Melissa Pearce (Ornella Ianuzzi's profile)
The Gemological Institute of America Museum Lecture series, “A Synergy of Art and Science,” Wednesday, April 3, 2007 - featuring Marianne Hunter by Ashley Bailey of whiteflash.com (Marianne Hunter's profile)
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