When Vogue launched the work by jeweller Eliane Fattal in 2011 we applauded her artistic vision creating glittering contemporary-looking jewels using vintage hand-me-downs. Tweaked in Fattal’s hands old diamond frogs with demantoid garnet eyes mustered a modern patina dazzling atop a golden lily pad ring and unloved Victorian pansies and carnations blossomed in asymmetric earrings. No longer speaking of the past; Fattal adapted their language for the future and forever.
This week she takes her aesthetic concept a stage further launching a high jewellery collection shining with antique sensibility and craftsmanship, using exceptional new stones from Sotheby’s Diamonds. Vintage hair combs have been transformed into earrings each set with a 14-ct diamond centre stone; a vintage butterfly with diamond streamers fluttering in its wake, swoops from a torque in pursuit of a ‘D’ flawless 50-ct diamond briolette, and a rare fancy intense blue dewdrop suspends from a sapphire pansy. “The new stones make the old pieces look contemporary,” says Fattal, “ whilst making the new stones look soulful and aged. There’s an element of mystery which is important to give wearability to fine jewels.” Their breathtaking beauty is matched by the presentation. Inspired by a red book owned by her grand-mother of drawings by the great 18th century landscape designer Humphry Repton, Fattal displays each jewel in a red silk book box, with a drawing and description of the stone content detailing the historic background, fashion notes and literary references about the theme of the jewel.
The pieces will be displayed today as part of Sotheby’s Old Masters week. “These are intellectual conversation pieces”, explains Patti Wong Founder and Chairman Sotheby’s Diamonds, “just like the Old Master paintings.” A timeline, as opposed to a movement, identifies Old Masters, which ranges from the renaissance period through the Dutch golden age and baroque styles, providing an appropriate backdrop for Fattal’s work which also defies description by a type or method. But like the Old Masters it will be talked about and sought after for generations. Fattal is the new mistress of romantic artist-jewels.
Sotheby’s Old Masters Week will run from 30th November – 5th December.