In this weekly feature, InStyle’s jewelry and watch editor Marion Fasel shares the inside scoop on the treasures that are on her radar. Look for it every Thursday on What’s Right Now, and follow Fasel on Instagram (@marionfasel) to see more gems that rock her world.
Wimbledon is not the only action happening in England right now. Last night the Masterpiece exhibition opened in London. In just five short years, the annual show has lived up to its auspicious name. More than 150 of the greatest galleries from all around the world bring in their, well, masterpieces dating from ancient times to today for buyers to peruse. Among the art and objects there are serious treasures from 24 of the most elite jewelers in the world.
The most famous in the group is Fred Leighton, who has been outfitting celebrities from Madonna to Lupita Nyong'o for eons. Verdura, another well-known jewelry name, was once the favorite jeweler of silver screen stars including Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Today the uber-chic designer Carolina Herrera is rarely seen without her signature Verdura Curb-Link gold bracelets.
Other jewelers at Masterpiece might not be names you have heard of but if you love jewelry you will definitely want to get to know them. There are A La Vielle Russie and Kentshire, the cream of the vintage jewelry crop, who are both based in New York. A jeweler with the French name that translates roughly to "the old Russian," A La Vielle Russie has a boutique in the bustling midtown area and often stages delightful exhibitions of Fabergé. Kentshire is another New York based jeweler with a boutique on Madison Avenue and one tucked away on the seventh floor of legendary department store Bergdorf Goodman. The stylish influence of the fashion mecca is always reflected in the marvelous miscellaneous mix in Kentshire’s inventory.
Two of the most elusive and coveted jewelers at Masterpiece are Siegelson and Hemmerle. Siegelson's New Yorker office is private. The jeweler only shows its 20th century treasures and modern creations publicly at presentations like Masterpiece in London and a couple of other equally exclusive shows—the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires and the Fine Art Asia presentation in Hong Kong. Hemmerle has a boutique in Munich and an epic cult following. The visionary German jeweler makes modern statement pieces with a mix of unorthodox materials such as copper, cement, iron, and stunning large gemstones.
If you are taking a trip to London before June 30, swing by the show and get a look at all the treasures in person. You might run in to a member of the British royal family browsing the selection or a English movie star like Hugh Grant or Eddie Redmayne who were spotted at the show last year.
1. Lauren Adriana for Siegelson
Lee Siegelson is not only a specialist in twentieth century jewelry, he is also a gem expert with an eye for contemporary talent. He spotted great potential in English jewelry designer Lauren Adriana. After he presented her with a couple of sensational pear-shape spinels weighing over 35 carats each and a handful of natural pearls, she came up with these stunners. Price upon request; siegelson.com
2. Fred Leighton
Actress Joan Crawford's 30-carat emerald cut amethyst necklace and matching earrings made in the 1940s by Ruser. This stunning set that also includes a bracelet makes it easy to understand why the Los Angeles-based jewelry designer was a favorite of Hollywood's A-list during the silver screen era. Price upon request; fredleighton.com
3. Fred Leighton
Art Deco emerald and diamond pendant earrings by the iconic Parisian designer Suzanna Belperron, who counted the Duchess of Windsor and Frank Sinatra among her star-studded clientele during the mid-twenthieth century. Price upon request; fredleighton.com
Sleek and chic, this platinum Cartier ring from 1937 shows the French jeweler has always known how to make maximum impact in its designs, even when they were creating in the minimalist Machine Style of the late 1930s. The stunning ruby in the ring weights a whopping 5.86 carats. Price upon request; siegelson.com
The iconic Maltese Cross cuffs the Italian titled duke Fulco Verdura originally whipped up when he worked for Coco Chanel in the 1930s are still made in any number of modern variations today by the exclusive jewelry firm Verdura. These two are black jade and mammoth ivory set with black and white diamonds in gold. $56,500 and $61,500; verdura.com
All of the jewelry Verdura creates today is based on the designer's original sketches. This spectacular flower bud bracelet that was never produced in Fulco Verdura's lifetime features two Kunzite buds weighing 112.80 carats and 30.98 carats of diamonds set in platinum. $224,000; verdura.com
7. A La Vieille Russie
One of the greatest American jewelers of the early years of the twentieth century, Marcus & Co., created this glamorous diamond leaf platinum and gold necklace set with demantoid garnets and diamonds. Price upon request; alavieillerussie.com
8. A La Vieille Russie
Queen Victoria of England popularized snake-themed jewelry when she received a snake wedding ring from Prince Albert in 1839. It symbolized everlasting love. This Victoria era snake bracelet made in England around 1880 features a gold-scaled body with old-mine cut diamonds and rubies on the head. $62,000; alavieillerussie.com
During the Jazz Age, jewelry was all about modernity with clean lines that matched women's new knee-length flapper dresses and bobbed hair. This gorgeous gold French necklace set with chrysophrase and onyx made around 1930 exemplifies the fresh look. Price upon request; kentshire.com
With the formal styles of the fit and flare dress of the 1950s came bold gold statement jewels, like this divine Cordes Ludo bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels featuring foxtail chain and tassels with diamonds accenting the clasp. Price upon request; kentshire.com
The full short tassel earring is one of Hemmerle's signature styles in its repertoire of modern designs. These beauties are set with fancy grey diamonds, white gold, and iron. Price upon request; hemmerle.com
Hemmerle's fearless use of unorthodox materials shows up in the concrete (you read that right, concrete) that forms the top section of these jasper, aquamarine, and white gold earrings. Price upon request; hemmerle.com