The Christie’s Paris sale, next June, is full of jewelry animals: elephants, cats, lions, owls and ladybugs. I am delighted to have dedicated the following article in the catalogue to them.
“The bestiary is one of the major themes of jewellery. All through the ages, processions of flying, swimming, running or rampant animals have inspired jewellery designers. Fur or feather. Domesticated or wild. Stylised as in a children’s book or truer than life, lifted from entomological plates. Painters and sculptors have their equivalent in the world of jewellery: Fabergé, René Lalique, Cartier, etc. The beauty of snakes, butterflies, owls, fishes, humming birds is a powerful source of inspiration for animal jewellers. They are easy to slip on a finger, ready to fly off as a brooch…
Christie’s sale presents a joyful and friendly ark. Impertinent and rebel. An enchanted kingdom inhabited by animals devoid to animality. Nothing sweeter than these small hard stone animal sculptures. On the Cartier set, the elephants are large, heavy, but still look adorable. The Van Cleef and Arpels lion only needs speech, with its sweet face and tousled mane. Boucheron’s red and black enamel Ladybirds look like cuddly toys. All these quirky animals are made to charm, as a matter of fact they could all be turned into tinkling charms!
Behind the seeming naivety and simplicity of the design, the animal jeweller deploys treasures of dexterity. A cabochon for the head, an engraved citrine for the wing, chiselled gold for the body… Between his fingers, precious stones become fur and feathers. The duck displays a precious onyx and lapis lazuli costume. The cockerel stands proudly on its spurs, showing off its flamboyant sapphire, emerald and diamond feathers. Vhernier’s sea tortoise swims through turquoise water: in reality, its carapace is made of superposed crystal, mother-of-pearl and rock crystal. As for Sylvie Corbelin, she captures the butterfly’s ephemeral beauty: real varnished wings found in an entomology collection of the 1950s, arranged around an amethyst.
Wonderful correspondances between mineral and animal. Nature more beautiful than nature.”
Christie’s 9, avenue Matignon, Paris 8e – Viewing 8-12 June 2019, sale 13 June 2019
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