I am strolling through the immaculate grounds of The Royal Hospital Chelsea chatting playfully with the Men in Scarlett – better known as the Chelsea Pensioners – within the grounds of their home, which was founded in 1682 by King Charles II–- #proudtobebritish! It’s currently playing host to the new but highly successful Masterpiece Fair, now in its third year and better than ever.
Masterpiece is now established as a new breed of fair that embraces modernity and variety all under one very luxurious roof, redefining the traditional art fair concept. Offering art, antiques, object d’art, jewellery and classic motors, plus fine dining by Le Caprice, Harry’s bar or Scotts.
There with my jewellery hat on I make a beeline for Brilliant, an exhibition of diamonds and design carefully curated by Vogue’s Carol Woolton in celebration of the Queen’s diamond Jubilee. The exhibition is divided into four artistic disciplines - art, architecture, fashion and sculpture, showcasing some of the world’s most celebrated design houses and artisans. The interpretation of these disciplines were genuinely interesting and thought provoking, exploring design boundaries through the use of unique cuts of stones and materials or with a distinctive aesthetic.
The exhibition skillfully seeks to appreciate the vital role diamonds play in linking us to our ancestry, but also illustrating the importance of the evolution of diamonds and their equally modern role in today’s society, whether that be expressed in the works of traditional jewellery as we know it, modern object d’art, fashion accessories including zips and collars or simply exquisite diamonds set in magnificent craftsmanship.
I managed to catch up with Shaun Leane with his Serpent Trace Necklace, the visual simplicity yet design complexity of the piece is a testament to Leane’s creative genius. My other favourites were Solange Azagury Partridge’s diamond chandelier as part of her Unwearable Jewels collection, which translates her jewellery designs into art for the home.
Cartier’s Broche Oiseau is a glorious example of superior craftsmanship originally commissioned by a private client and recently bought back by Cartier for their archives, this is first time this broach has been displayed anywhere in the world. Victoire de Castellane for Dior showcased two sculpture like creations, one ornamental king pendant and the other iconic Bal de Mai necklace featuring the signature rose most loved by Christian Dior.
Other show highlights include the fabulous house of Verdura, ‘America’s Crown Jeweller’ and Coco Chanel’s jeweller of choice. I also managed to catch up with Viren Bahgat, Mumbai’s elusive and impeccably stylish master craftsman. His magical collections are a perfect fusion of rich Indian heritage with modern European aesthetics, to my joy his son debuted with some equally superior pieces, which is good to know the craft is being continued in the family. Finally, Siegelson, the New York based authority on rare and precious gems was showcasing some breathtaking pieces, in particular a wonderful example of classic Art Modern design in the form of a pair of platinum and diamond cuffs designed by Jean Fouquet, and a super sparkly and eye catching 33.03ct vintage diamond solitaire ring.
Masterpiece London finished on July 4 and was located in the South Grounds of The Royal Hospital Chelsea, London SW3.
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