By Ashley Davis
This cushion-cut old mine diamond ring set in rose gold from French high jeweler Reza was on display at the recently concluded TEFAF Fall show in New York City.
The European Fine Art Fair, or TEFAF for short, only features a handful of jewelry designers and galleries among its array of antique and contemporary art and design booths, but the quality of these exhibitors make it a must-visit destination on the American fine jewelry calendar.

Started in 1988, TEFAF happens once annually in Maastricht, Netherlands, but began biannual New York showings in 2016 at the Park Avenue Armory.

It’s the only decent chance for stateside jewelry lovers to interact with brands like the German Hemmerle or the French Reza, who have chosen TEFAF New York as their biannual American entrée.

Below, see some of the most captivating jewels that were on display at the recently concluded fall show, and mark your calendars for TEFAF New York Spring—it’s happening May 8-12, 2020. Taffin is a regular at the spring edition, and that’s reason enough to visit.

20191115 TEFAF ALVR1Image courtesy of A La Vieille Russie

My first stop at TEFAF was A La Vieille Russie, a New York-based antique jewelry gallery that began in Russia in 1851 before moving to Paris in 1920 and finally New York in 1941. The company specializes in antique European and American jewelry, and in its earliest days counted Carl Faberge as a client. 

A La Vieille Russie had the Tiffany & Co. brooch seen above on view at TEFAF Fall featuring a large carved moonstone in a platinum and diamond mount circa 1900.

20191115 TEFAF ALVR2Image courtesy of A La Vieille Russie

ALVR also had several excellent examples of enamel on display, like this gold-mounted pale blue enamel clock with a seed pearl-trimmed dial crafted by Faberge workmaster H. Wigström in approximately 1910.

The commemorative clock was one of many objects created in the years following St. Petersburg’s 1903 bicentenary. It features a sepia painting depicting the city.

20191115 TEFAF ALVR3Image courtesy of A La Vieille Russie

Paul Templier designed this diamond and natural pearl convertible pin and pendant set in platinum in 1901.

Boasting between 5 and 6 carats of diamonds, the stones are unusual for the early 20th century, as trillion-cut diamonds aren’t typically seen in the period.

Templier is arguably one of the most important names in antique jewelry design.

Paul Templier was the son of Charles Templier, who founded the family jewelry business in 1849 in Paris. Paul took over in 1885, and his son, Raymond Templier, entered the business in 1919 and stayed there until it shuttered upon his retirement in 1965.

I was amazed at the lasting quality of the above Renaissance Revival white and black enamel link and pendant necklace set with old-mine cut diamonds and mounted in silver and gold.

The piece can be traced to England, circa 1895.

Speaking of white enamel, I spotted the sweetest gold and white enamel necklace circa 1880 at Monaco antique jewelry dealer Veronique Bamps booth.

The candy-like sapphire, topaz, aquamarine and peridot gems lent the piece a saccharine elegance.

20191115 TEFAF Hemmerle1Image courtesy of Hemmerle

Fourth-generation German design house Hemmerle has hosted private client appointments in New York City for years, but TEFAF has introduced the brand to an entirely new group of admirers.

Every piece the family-owned and -operated company creates is one-of-a-kind and produced entirely in-house from start to finish, taking hundreds of hours, or even years, to complete.

The above diamond, iron, silver and white gold earrings were new for TEFAF. The spokes actually move around the diameter of the earring.

20191115 TEFAF Hemmerle2Image courtesy of Hemmerle

Another impressive hero piece was this flexible emerald cuff, which opens sideways courtesy of an inventively engineered hinge.

It’s made of emerald, bronze and white gold.

20191115 TEFAF Hemmerle3I snapped this shot of Hemmerle's exquisite Sleeping Beauty turquoise necklace at TEFAF Fall 2019.

Upon first glance, this turquoise strand necklace appeared to be one of Hemmerle’s more subdued designs, but, as always, a little context illuminated its particular importance.

The flawless Sleeping Beauty turquoise beads took the Hemmerle family two decades to acquire; the final product is the result of that treasure hunt.

20191115 TEFAF Reza1Image courtesy of Reza

I saved my favorite TEFAF stop for last. Reza’s mezzanine-level space transports visitors to the high jeweler’s Place Vendôme salon in Paris.

The second-generation company had some incredible new, one-of-a-kind treasures for the show.

This deep green, oval-cut 6.93-carat Zambian emerald was set in the house’s signature “Turban” design in white gold with 48 baguette-shaped diamonds totaling 5.85 carats.

20191115 TEFAF Reza2Image courtesy of Reza

While I often gravitate to the French atelier’s exquisite colored gemstones, this particular diamond was my favorite piece from TEFAF Fall.

One of Reza’s newest creations, this J-color VS2 cushion-cut 7.02-carat old mine diamond sits in an inventive “Facette” mount, featuring a mixture of matte and polished rose gold.

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