COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Decorative box of tortoiseshell with silver inlay. Courtesy of Maison Bonnet.

  Tortoiseshell has long been a controversial item mainly because it is produced from the shell of the hawksbill turtle, an endangered species. It has been used since antiquity for the manufacturing of instruments, such as the Greek lyre, decorative accents on Roman furniture, marquetry of thin inlays as in Louis XIV furniture, and small luxury […]

Silver smithing at Christofle on Madison Avenue. © Thomai Serdari

In our increasingly high-tech existence, we are progressively losing touch with the tactile side of life. This is particularly true in the US, a country detached from manufacturing. Americans value their homegrown service economy and the empowerment it warrants them in becoming avid consumers of goods and experiences. Even art schools is the US are […]

Suzanne Belperron. Citrine and rock crystal brooch, ca. 1930. Courtesy Valérie Danenberg

Suzanne Belperron’s work is well respected in France and gaining more renown in the US as well. As we have previously discussed her work, we were delighted to discover this unique brooch made of citrine, rock crystal and 18K carats gold. This piece, which dates to the 1930s, is extraordinary because of the quality and size […]

Minaudière by CHANEL, ca. 2012. Courtesy of Chanel.

The minaudière, a term coined by Estelle Arpels (wife of Alfred van Cleef, founder of the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels), entered both women’s vocabulary and their wardrobes in the 1930s.  Irresistibly handy, and literally made to fit in the palm of one’s hand, the minaudière, a small-scale handbag or clutch, was a clever upgrade […]

Monkey stealing a banana. Articulated monkey pendant is encrusted with pavé Champagne diamonds and is carrying a Yellow Sapphire Banana. Courtesy of Marc Alary.

  Pluralism of styles does not warrant innovation. In present-day fashion, product, and jewelry design we mostly see repetition: revivals made contemporary with minor updates in cut, color, and size. Jewelry, by definition a means to personalizing an outfit, suffers from a similar malaise. The field lacks creativity and compensates for it with great numbers […]

Ora-ito. Arborescence Collection for Christofle. Courtesy of Christofle.

  In our culture of vanity and self-absorption, hoi polloi are mainly interested in fashion. Cladded in designer outfits and accessorized to the tilt, contemporary consumers re-define themselves based on the quantities of goods they acquire. Additionally, they seek to partake in the art world, even if tangentially. The Murakami and Kusama limited editions of […]

Archaic design for necklace (with dark red garnets in cabochon) and brooch (with malachite). Courtesy of Lalaounis.

For saturated tastes such as ours today, few are the luxury pieces that stand apart. As consumers we have become blasé precisely because the market is crowded with too many brands fighting for our attention. Print ads, promotional videos, short films, Facebook endorsements, and chatty tweets raise the volume of noise and confusion. To counter […]

Lara Knutson. Soft Glass, 2010. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Historians organize our experiences in neatly defined historic movements. Romanticism, the intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, found expression in artistic and literary works that deeply impacted the Western world until about 1850. Romantic works stemmed from heightened emotions and man’s aesthetic experience in the world. In turn, […]

Tiffany & Co. Vintage Minaudière. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

For the last ten years, auction houses have been steadily increasing their presence in the field of vintage fashion and accessories. Increased consumption of luxury goods has paralleled the ups and downs of the market and, as a result, it has generated an entire new category of product placement at auctions. While the major auction […]