27 August 2017

Jean Vendome’s academician’s sword in the “Medusa” exhibition

A tribute to this French jeweler who died just a short time ago. On seeing the jeweler’s “5th Avenue” ring, the French intellectual, Roger Caillois, was struck by its lightness and the purity obtained by the play of negative space that for him inspired reverie, and thus he decided to entrust Vendome with the making of his sword*. As tradition would have it, the materials and designs used for the sword should symbolize the work of its future owner. Roger Caillois chose the moldavite from Czechoslovakia which recalls his wife’s country of origin. The five diamonds forming the Southern Cross evoke the Gallimard book collection of which he was the director, and the tourmaline from Brazil relates to the privileged links he shared with this country. There are other symbols besides, but this sword marks especially the beginning of a friendship between the two mineral enthusiasts, so much so that Roger Caillois, a collector, even devoted a collection of poems to these entitled The Writing of Stones.

* Conserved in the Musée des Confluences in Lyon

A tribute to this French jeweler who died just a short time ago. On seeing the jeweler's “5th Avenue” ring, the French intellectual, Roger Caillois, was struck by...

17 August 2017

The glass cocoon by Agathe Saint-Girons in the “Medusa” exhibition

Some jewelry pieces exhibited in the “Medusa” exhibition are quite affordable, like this glass cocoon by Agathe Saint-Girons. The artist designed it for a rather unconventional wedding proposal: the one who receives it must smash it into a thousand pieces to gain possession of the gold ring it contains within. “The gesture symbolizing acceptance is much more of a commitment than opening a jewel box,” explains the designer, Agathe Saint-Girons, who provides a manual along with it. “Offer it as is, then break the glass and free the feelings”. Any glass cocoon that remains intact does not promise a good future …

On sale at the Elsa Vanier Gallery.

Some jewelry pieces exhibited in the "Medusa" exhibition are quite affordable, like this glass cocoon by Agathe Saint-Girons. The artist designed it for a rather...

26 July 2017

Three dog collars in the “Medusa” exhibition

The first piece dates from the 19th century and is part of the Émile Hermès collection. Made of patinated leather covered with a nickel silver name plate, it echoes touches of the second piece, displayed a few meters away. This Cartier diamond collar dates from 1906 and is meant to be worn snugly and high on the neck, in the style of Rihanna on the cover of W Magazine. The third is by Line Vautrin, an artist known for her playful jewelry and pieces, often featuring wordplay and rebuses. This gilded bronze collar is in the form of a row of dogs holding each other’s tails.

The first piece dates from the 19th century and is part of the Émile Hermès collection. Made of patinated leather covered with a nickel silver name plate, it echoes...

17 July 2017

Cigarette necklace in the “Medusa” exhibition

The term “DIY” is often associated with the work of Lisa Walker, a New Zealand artist who loves to collect, glue and paint items such as these foam cigarette ends. Here they are attached to a braid reminiscent of those used in Maori stone and shell jewelry, giving the necklace a magical, talismanic feel, as if it is intended to exorcise this deadly addiction.

The term “DIY” is often associated with the work of Lisa Walker, a New Zealand artist who loves to collect, glue and paint items such as these foam cigarette...

14 July 2017

Avant-garde jewelry in the “Medusa” exhibition

A large part of the exhibition is dedicated to this type of jewelry, also known as “contemporary” jewelry and still relatively unknown in France.

Picture: Galatée Pestre, found jewelry collection © Matthieu Gauchet

A large part of the exhibition is dedicated to this type of jewelry, also known as “contemporary” jewelry and still relatively unknown in France. Picture:...

07 July 2017

Plastic in the “Medusa” exhibition

Here we see a necklace, bracelet and ring cut out of an ordinary sheet of polythene. “This object, in the guise of a jewelry set, created a dialogue between jewelry and art,” says designer Carole Guinard, who produced it in 1987 for the first Biennale du Bijou in Paris. “The ultra-clean design provided a simple answer to the ambiguous questions posed by multiples, endless reproductions and copies with no originals.” The stock remaining from 1987 is now on sale at €25 a piece in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs bookstore. A splendid collector’s item.

Here we see a necklace, bracelet and ring cut out of an ordinary sheet of polythene. "This object, in the guise of a jewelry set, created a dialogue between jewelry...

13 June 2017

René Lalique in the “Medusa” exhibition

Normally on view in the Jewelry Gallery of Paris’ Museum of Decorative Arts, this “Noisettes” necklace from the early 1920s is one of the major pieces of the “Medusa” exhibition. Michèle Heuzé, the exhibition’s technical expert, sees it as the earliest avant-garde jewelry piece, long before Calder’s creations. Explanation.

Normally on view in the Jewelry Gallery of Paris’ Museum of Decorative Arts, this “Noisettes” necklace from the early 1920s is one of the major pieces of the...

13 June 2017

Nail art in the “Medusa” exhibition

The word “jewelry” doesn’t necessarily mean a necklace or a bracelet, and so the “Medusa” exhibition is presenting a set of false nails in diamonds created in 1953 by Mellerio. The beginnings of nail art. “They fit into the fashion of the time for small objects related to beauty like combs and compacts,” explains the jeweler. “But we haven’t yet discovered in our archives for which grand figure of elegance they were created.”

The word "jewelry" doesn’t necessarily mean a necklace or a bracelet, and so the "Medusa" exhibition is presenting a set of false nails in diamonds created in 1953...

09 June 2017

The Little Prince in the “Medusa” exhibition

“Because it’s joined to it, jewelry may speak for the body when the latter is silent: it identifies the dead,” writes Michèle Heuzé in the “Medusa” exhibition catalogue. This engraved silver-oxide bracelet made it possible to solve the mystery of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s disappearance, when in 1998, a fisherman brought it up in his nets in a rocky inlet near Marseille. This piece finally gave the clue to locating the zone in which the writer’s plane disappeared in 1944. It’s the key to the mystery! In 2003, some remains of the cabin were finally brought to the surface from the depths some 70 meters below.

“Because it’s joined to it, jewelry may speak for the body when the latter is silent: it identifies the dead,” writes Michèle Heuzé in the “Medusa”...

05 June 2017

A wrench in the “Medusa” exhibition

“This pendant didn’t come about after a great deal of consideration, but from a simple find in 1975 among the shelves of the BHV store,” explains its creator Gilles Jonemann whose work is based on basic and ordinary materials. “I hung this pretty chrome-plated eleven-centimeter wrench, just one of many, on a leather lace. It became obvious when a client asked me to mount her diamond and seeing both on my workbench, I detected the clash of symbolic references between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.” This jewelry piece, one of the first to emerge from the idea of altering an object’s meaning, won De Beers‘ “Diamonds International Awards” aimed at modernizing the use of diamonds. It is today considered a major piece in jewelry history.

“This pendant didn't come about after a great deal of consideration, but from a simple find in 1975 among the shelves of the BHV store,” explains its creator...

31 May 2017

Nail clipping necklace in the “Medusa” exhibition

The “Medusa” exhibition provides the opportunity to meet contemporary designers and artists whose pieces question or disturb, like the Norwegian Nanna Melland. At first glance her “Decadence” necklace, formed by an accumulation of beautiful gold leaves strung on a red string, appears delightful. In fact, it’s her nail clippings collected in the early 2000s sublimated in gold. Nanna Melland is part of the 1970s process of recovering “infamous” materials. Between fascination and revulsion, she experiments with notions of beauty and questions its relationship to the body.

The “Medusa” exhibition provides the opportunity to meet contemporary designers and artists whose pieces question or disturb, like the Norwegian Nanna Melland. At...

22 May 2017

“Medusa. Jewellery and Taboos” - The kick-off

I firstly featured the setting up of this exhibition along with the views of its curator, Anne Dressen, and its scientific advisors, Michèle Heuzé and Benjamin Lignel. Now I’ll present to you a rundown on the collectors, lenders, artists, jewelers and others from the world of the jewel who were present at the opening. An eclectic bunch all enthusiastic about this exhibition-event.

I firstly featured the setting up of this exhibition along with the views of its curator, Anne Dressen, and its scientific advisors, Michèle Heuzé and Benjamin...

18 May 2017

Exhibition “Medusa”, a new theme

The exhibition focuses on four main themes based on the preconceived notions of jewelry: the idea of too feminine and so a question of identity, jewelry and identity, jewelry and convention, the idea of preciousness and therefore the question of value, but also of counter-values and other values.

Too corporeal, jewelry is an object of sweat, it’s an object that’s worn on the body, and it’s therefore transmissible but in a very specific way – within a family, in certain cases in rituals, and finally too primitive, too magical.

The idea is therefore to really show several facets, and to not stop at very narrow definitions that prevent jewelry from entering a museum somewhere.”

“The exhibition focuses on four main themes based on the preconceived notions of jewelry: the idea of too feminine and so a question of identity, jewelry and...

15 May 2017

“Medusa” and the Legion of Honor

One of the videos featured in the “Medusa” exhibition echoes the current inauguration ceremony of France’s new President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron. We see Vincent Auriol, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Mitterrand all receive the large gold chain and medallion of the Grand Master of the Order of the Legion of Honor. Created by Napoleon to reward soldiers and civilians serving the nation, it is composed of the Legion of Honor star and sixteen links recalling the sixteen major activities of the nation.

One of the videos featured in the “Medusa” exhibition echoes the current inauguration ceremony of France’s new President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron. We...

15 May 2017

“Medusa. Jewellery and Taboos” - The installation

A few days before the opening of the Medusa exhibition, Sandrine Merle met with the curator, Anne Dressen, and two scientific advisers, Benjamin Lignel and Michèle Heuzé. Around them, the 400 jewels of this exhibition were being positioned in the display cabinets …

A few days before the opening of the Medusa exhibition, Sandrine Merle met with the curator, Anne Dressen, and two scientific advisers, Benjamin Lignel and Michèle...
  • © Pierre-Olivier Deschamps / Agence VU’ - Musée des Confluences, Lyon

  • © Pierre-Olivier Deschamps / Agence VU’ - Musée des Confluences, Lyon

  • © Pierre-Olivier Deschamps / Agence VU’ - Musée des Confluences, Lyon

  • © Pierre-Olivier Deschamps / Agence VU’ - Musée des Confluences, Lyon

  • Dog collar made of patinated leather and nickel silver - Second half of the 19th century - Émile Hermès collection

  • Cartier - Rose-cut diamond collar - 1906

  • Line Vautrin - Gilded bronze collar © Jean-Claude Marlaud

  • Carole Guinard - Jewelry set made of polythene, 1987

  • Carole Guinard - Jewelry set made of polythene, 1987

  • Mellerio - False nails in diamonds and palladium - 1953

  • Mellerio - False nails in diamonds and palladium - 1953

  • Mellerio - False nails in diamonds and palladium - 1953


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