Atypical Wonders: Daring Jewels

An upcoming auction features superlative masterpieces: jewelry that tells stories, demonstrates ideas, and reflects the emotions of their creators.

Atypical Wonders: Daring Jewels

On June 26, French auction house Aguttes is auctioning off a set of exquisite jewelry designed by the greats. These artists and craftsmen (and women) of luxury revolutionized the universe of the jewelry with high-flying craftsmanship.

Georges Fouquet (attributed to), onyx ring, jadeite and 18K gray gold. Photo: © Aguttes
Georges Fouquet (attributed to), onyx ring, jadeite and 18K gray gold. Photo: © Aguttes

From a second generation line of jewelers, Georges Fouquet began his career in 1894 with the family business which was then owned by his father Alphonse, before he took over the lead. Fouquet’s creations, which he stamped with his own initials from 1897, stood out from the traditional jewels of the time, with his use of materials, dimensions and extravagant volumes.

Georges Fouquet, cuff bracelet, jadeite and silver. Photo: © Aguttes
Georges Fouquet, cuff bracelet, jadeite and silver. Photo: © Aguttes

Fouquet explored matter by superimposing forms and colors, and he played on the transparency of the materials he used by juxtaposing them. Inspired by modern and dynamic women, his jewelry favored pure graphics and clean geometry, as with this cuff bracelet in jadeite and silver, which rejects any form of ornamentation in favor of simple and geometric lines.

Suzanne Belperron, rectangular citrine ‘dome’ ring and multicoloured citrine pavé, 18k yellow gold. Photo: © Aguttes
Suzanne Belperron, rectangular citrine ‘dome’ ring and multicoloured citrine pavé, 18k yellow gold. Photo: © Aguttes

Suzanne Belperron is one of the most fashionable designers of the 1930s. After a remarkable stint in the house of Jeanne Boivin, widow of the creator René Boivin, she set out on her own and her creations subsequently bloomed freely. Her splendors are exuberant, at the helm of sculptural work, while maintaining a chic elegance. Sensual and graphic, her jewels don’t fall into a category of being ‘over the top’ and are consequently never in bad taste. Belperron was a confident woman with a strong personality who, unlike most goldsmiths of the day, never found it necessary to sign or stamp her jewelry. "My style is my signature," she was known to say.

René Boivin, ‘tiered roller’ ring, round diamonds, 18k yellow and gray gold. Photo: © Aguttes
René Boivin, ‘tiered roller’ ring, round diamonds, 18k yellow and gray gold. Photo: © Aguttes

Many consider René Boivin's jewelry to be the most daring of the 20th century. The designer drew on his influences from the world of haute couture and contemporary artistic trends, which gave his jewelry a modern and innovative style in a cubist and Art Deco manner. The most sought-after Boivin creations by passionate collectors remain those that appeared from the 1920s. Upon his death, his wife Jeanne Boivin took over the reins, and thanks to the collaboration between Suzanne Belperron and Juliette Moutard (one after the other), a new wind was given to the sumptuous collections of the house.

Jean Després, lapis lazuli ring, 18k yellow gold. Photo: © Aguttes
Jean Després, lapis lazuli ring, 18k yellow gold. Photo: © Aguttes

At the age of 14, Jean Després began his academic apprenticeship with a Parisian silversmith. However the young apprentice had little time to forge a traditional vision of the profession, because he socialized with artists of the time, such as Picasso, Modigliani and Braque. He was inspired by emerging forms and materials, which gave his work an astonishing touch of modernity. His career was at its peak in the 1930s, and is characterized mainly by the use of silver and stones, such as onyx, turquoise or lapis lazuli, as evidenced by this remarkable 18-karat gold ring created around 1940.

Van Cleef & Arpels, ‘flowers’ brooch, oval sapphires, 18k yellow gold. Photo: © Aguttes
Van Cleef & Arpels, ‘flowers’ brooch, oval sapphires, 18k yellow gold. Photo: © Aguttes

Our jewelry tour ends with a brooch from Van Cleef & Arpels, presented for sale in its box. This 18-karat yellow gold marvel designed in the shape of flowers is set with small oval sapphires, which gracefully fit between the petals. The floral style is present throughout the different collections of the brand, such as the Alhambra series or the necklace Passe-Partout, patented by the brand in 1938.

In addition to these designer treasures, Aguttes’ catalogue includes more than 200 exceptional lots combining traditional jewelry, watches and accessories, which will be auctioned off on June 26.

Find all treasures available at Aguttes here

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