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 […]

Koppel Pitcher 992. Courtesy of Georg Jensen

The beauty of the Koppel Pitcher for Georg Jensen stems from its simplicity. A single leaf of silver turned into this hollow silver container speaks mainly to those familiar with the complexities of silversmithing. This particular design, the achievement of Danish designer Henning Koppel (1918-1981), was introduced in 1952. It reduces the essence of the […]

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 […]

View of the Trompe l'Oeil exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

  Trompe l’oeil, an art technique that refers to the optical illusion of the third dimension through painterly two-dimensional works of realistic imagery, has its origins in the ancient frescoes and mosaics. Trompe l’oeil has remained a constant in the works of ancient, Renaissance, and modern artists and continues to fascinate today even if the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Josef Hoffmann. Toiletry Set, Wiener Werkstätte, 1905. Courtesy of Dorotheum.

The seven-part toiletry set (offered at auction at DOROTHEUM Vienna on May 13, 2013) seems to encapsulate all of Vienna’s essence at the beginning of the twentieth century: Viennese culture and Viennese luxury. The set was designed in 1905 for Paul Wittgenstein, famous concert pianist, son of Austrian industrialist Karl Wittgenstein and brother of renowned […]