November 18 2011
Lucia van der Post
My heart goes out to jewellery designers today. They always seem to produce their most glorious work just when the economy is on its knees. I scarcely remember a time when I have been more tempted by the wondrous pieces that I come across.
While you could walk into almost any jeweller’s and find windows and shelves glinting with temptation, I thought that, with present-giving firmly in mind, I’d draw your attention to a few designers who you almost certainly will never have heard about and who produce wildly original, exquisitely made pieces.
First off are a couple discovered by Annoushka Ducas whose work she sells in her chic little shop in London. She only gives space to jewellers who don’t sell anywhere else. I am enchanted by the work of Miriam Salat and David Joseph, who together make up Bochic. They already have a large red-carpet following but otherwise aren’t well known. The style is sumptuous, intricate and distinctive.
Take some earrings from the Shanghai range – two ovals of beautifully carved white jade topped by a curvy collection of diamonds set in white gold (£16,500). Then there is an extraordinary bracelet with rows of tiny rubies clasped by a gorgeous buckle of diamonds, white gold and black rhodium (third picture, £22,500).
Newly arrived is jewellery by Maxim Voznesensky, whose work has never been out of Russia before. Ducas herself is half Russian and immediately bonded with Voznesensky, seeing in his work something of the aesthetic traditions of the great Russian artists such as Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich and Fabergé, though I see echoes of the famous American-Parisian JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal). The style is also infinitely intricate – an apple pendant (second picture, £3,900), for instance, being made from hundreds of tiny diamonds, sapphires and tsavorites set in gold (the detailing in the twig round which the apple is set is exquisite). Then there’s a ring of yellow sapphires, diamonds and yellow gold in the shape of a slice of orange (£8,800). Earrings start at £3,000, statement rings at about £8,000 and pendants at £3,900. These are all masterpieces, like works of art.
For more affordable jewellery, Manguette has immensely wearable pieces. I particularly love the work of Steve Vaubel, an American designer whose speciality is big, beautifully faceted semiprecious stones, often slightly irregular in shape, which he sets into 14ct rolled gold, all done by hand. Rings start at about £675 (version in first picture, £735), bracelets at £700. And there are some gorgeous earrings at from about £300 a pair (version in first picture, £695).