A pair of new collections show recent in Paris that can not be different from each other’s inspiration, but they are all fascinating.
Harumi Klossowska de Rola presented Retour d’Expedition, an exhibition of jewellery and objects, at Van Cleef & Arpels’ L’Ecole des Arts Joailliers. The daughter of the French-Polish artist Balthasar Klossowski de Rola and Japanese painter Setsuko Klossowska de Rola imagined a grand expedition between Europe and Asia, with the spoils displayed in wooden crates, some stamped with Japanese symbols like a ship’s cargo.
Large cats are rich – cheetahs, leopards, lions carved from buffalo horns, studded with gold, mammoth teeth, Venus or agate eyes, dusty black and white diamonds. These are set for the ring and take into account their Latin names, like precious specimens. A huge cuff on the ebony South African buffalo’s head carved with its golden horns forming a bracelet.
My favorite work is the heron pendant, the delicate ibis skull in the gold, needle-like ivory beak. This is a piece of treasure on the body and on the wall, as much as they are artwork.
A hop across Place Vendome to Hotel Costes and Solange Azagury Partridge’s jewel box of a shop to see Poptails, her new range of cocktail rings.
Eight major pieces – and by that I mean major in size, scale, colour and texture – came about from a collection of random stones Azagury-Partridge had collected over the years but had yet to turn into jewels. Star-shaped diamonds, large oval opals, a chunk of emerald, cabochon emeralds and pink sapphires all feature, but not as anything so ordinary as solitaire rings.
Instead, the designer has mixed and jumbled these stones up onto huge rings, stacked upon multiple layers of colour wrought in ceramic plate and lacquer, stripes of metal encrusted with yet more stones in yet more colours, in the shape of everything from Indian temples to cartoon mice.
Azagury-Partridge describes them as “a party for your hands” – and I can’t think of a better description myself. Each piece is as unique as those created by Harumi, yet with a totally different feel.