Each year, the well-heeded London crowd and thousands of art lovers flock to the Masterpiece London Art Fair, a gathering of galleries, high jewelry maisons, antique dealers and yacht sellers. Here, the visitors are notably beautifully dressed; in fact, you’re as likely to spot exquisite pieces of jewelry on the guests as you are in the exhibitors’ showcases.
The Masterpiece Fair takes place at the Chelsea Embankment and has, together with the Chelsea Flower Show, turned Chelsea into a destination for early summer events for moneyed society. (If you live in SW3 and have a private banker, then you will have received an invitation.) Lucky for you, Only Natural Diamonds got an exclusive preview of the exceptional pieces on display.
The common denominator at the Masterpiece Fair is art and antiques. The exhibition area is generously filled with objects of beauty, often with an interesting history. And this tradition colors the jewelry as well. Instead of their recent Folie de prés high jewelry collection, Van Cleef presented their Heritage collection, which brings together pieces from 1920 to 1980, all which have been authenticated and painstakingly refurbished. The sixty-year time period has allowed for a wide variety of aesthetic expressions that are tied together with playfulness and high value gemstones. From the 1945 collection we find a diamond encrusted bow in yellow gold. The white diamonds are set in both white gold and palladium, yet it’s the warmth of the yellow gold and flower-like pattern that dominates the piece. It would clip beautifully into your hair, perhaps worn with a velvet dress or a more casual jumper.
With a greater contemporary art appeal, Cindy Chao has turned her booth into a gallery. Her signature botanical and three-dimensional designs are embodied by the Star Sapphire Floral Brooch from the 15th Anniversary collection. Fancy cut diamonds surround an oval-shaped blue sapphire in the dreamy piece. Like Van Cleef, the bow symbol is a source of inspiration; Cindy Chao has two on display, which both compete for visitors’ attention. The Ribbon Brooch created this year binds together stunning pink and purple sapphires with white and yellow diamonds. It’s a colored dream. Chao’s other bow, which took over a year to create, features an old mine cut diamond weighing 76 carats and surrounded by red rubies set with ionized platinum.
The jeweler that best exemplifies the fair’s focus on arts and antiques is Wartski, a British house that was founded in 1865 in North Wales and makes a swift trade in the pre-loved space. Amongst authentic Faberge pieces and creations by the French crown jewelers, we find another bow resplendent with diamonds created by Marcus & Co, an American jeweler that operated between 1892 and 1962. Even so, the bow looks like it could have been designed yesterday, proving that the form from centuries past is as alive today, and ruling this year’s Masterpiece Fair.
Visit the Masterpiece London Art Fair now through July 7 at the Chelsea Embankment. Find tickets here.