Pictured at left are a Sabba diamond and turquoise ring, and gold diamond and pearl necklace, circa 1875. At right is a David Webb gold and diamond clip-brooch, circa 1960s, and Cartier gold brooch.
New York—A special exhibition at Sotheby’s New York will highlight the timelessness of the floral motif in jewelry design.

Opening Friday, “In Bloom” will present vintage pieces of floral jewelry from the likes of Tiffany & Co., Cartier and David Webb alongside modern renditions from contemporary independent brands such as Fernando Jorge and Irene Neuwirth.

The auction house partnered with Carol Woolton, an author, historian and British Vogue contributing director of jewelry, to curate the exhibition’s 75 pieces.

20190502 SothebysInBloom cindychaoCindy Chao is known for re-creating natural motifs like flowers and butterflies in her jewelry. Her tsavorite garnet and diamond rose earrings, $65,000, are part of Sotheby’s “In Bloom” exhibition sale.

Specifically, Woolton penned “Floral Jewels from the World’s Leading Designers.” Released in 2014, the tome provided the seed of inspiration (pun intended) for “In Bloom.”

“Flowers are one of the ways we measure particular moments of our lives, and jewelry is another,” she said in a press release. “Small wonder that flowers are a recurring and significant theme in the oeuvre of the jewelry designer, arguably the greatest leitmotif in the history of jewels, cropping up time and again studied from every angle for inventiveness and brilliance of color to be reimagined in fresh forms to suit the prevailing whims of fashion.”

20190502 SothebysInBloom shaunleaneShaun Leane created these white diamond and colored diamond orchid earrings, pictured with and without the detachable back, especially for “In Bloom.” They’re priced at $1.1 million.

Items in the exhibition, which will be available for sale during and after its run, range from elegant 19th century Art Nouveau brooches and ear clips to bold retro jewels such as a Cartier gold and citrine chrysanthemum clip-brooch from the 1940s and a Van Cleef & Arpels gold, diamond, emerald and sapphire bracelet from the 1960s.

Contemporary works showcase several designers known for their nature-inspired signatures, from Cindy Chao, whose diamond and tsavorite rose earrings are featured, to Wendy Yue, who contributed an emerald, tsavorite, pink sapphire and diamond hollyhock ring and show-stopping rubellite, tsavorite, emerald, yellow sapphire, pink sapphire, and diamond hollyhock necklace.

20190502 SothebysInBloom sabbaA Sabba diamond and turquoise ring ($135,000)

Lydia Courteille, Jessica McCormack, Neha Dani, Alice Cicolini and Stephen Webster are just some of the other current jewelers represented in “In Bloom,” while Shaun Leane, Gimel and Bina Goenka each crafted pieces especially for the occasion.

Even the simplest floral interpretation of the bunch, a turquoise and diamond cluster ring by Sabba, proves to be one of the most graphic and eye-catching.

20190502 SothebysInBloom ireneneuwirthIrene Neuwirth earrings with opal, chalcedony, turquoise, and diamonds ($32,020)

Sotheby’s Luxury Division Sales Director, Frank Everett, said, “There is no design motif as enduring as the flower, and blooms of every species have inspired designers for as long as we’ve had jewelry. It has been my pleasure to work with Carol Woolton on this show to select beautiful examples, both vintage and contemporary, tracing the evolution of the floral jewel over past 150 years.”

The exhibition will take place in Sotheby’s New York’s renovated, expanded galleries May 3 to 24, concurrent with the impressionist and modern sale, and contemporary art sale.

“In Bloom” jewels range in price from $10,000 to $3 million.

20190502 SothebysInBloom wendyyueWendy Yue’s Hollyhock collar features rubellite, tsavorite, emerald, yellow sapphire, pink sapphire, and diamond. ($62,000)


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