Monthly Archives: December 2010

Collier Comète Hair Pin

On November 1, 1932, Coco Chanel exhibited her first collection of fine jewelry in her Paris apartment. Two offer her most enduring innovations were putting diamonds in invisible settings you could seem their brilliance without distraction, and the Collier Comète. The necklace was collar made to imitate fabric. The jewelers spent 9 months designing spring for arch. Her revolutionary designs are still replicated today. This comet hairpin made from reals diamonds and 18K white gold.

Van Cleef & Arpels also created Atlantide, jewelry inspired by mythological sea creatures. These Diadème Cleita was centerpiece of collection. The diamonds in replica weigh almost 8 carats.

Both pieces sell for around $13,000 each.

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The African Aesthetic

Catherine Olliveaud and Alain Touzinaud, whose inspiring collection is featured in The Creative Museum have acquired some notable pieces of African art, which has a rich tradition of anthropomorphism, or carving emotions into animals, which display a profound understanding of the human condition.

From the Akan people of Ghana, this painted wood comb portrays the “Sankofa bird and means “go back and fetch it”. It is a traditional Akan symbol as is the Sankofa heart.” This knowledge was contributed by our member, Robert Belcher. Thank you, Robert!

This comb reminds me of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” but it is decorated with a traditional diagonal mask from the Lwimbi people of Angola.

This comb reminds me of Magritte, but it is a symbol of feminine power made by the Dan people of the Ivory Coast.

The Yaouré people of the Ivory Coast elongated the neck and beak of this bird so it would hold a comb on top of a mask. This technique of exaggerating animal features was famously used by Lalique when he interpreted Japanese combs through the lens of French Symbolist philosophy. I love the fact that skewed features were used in Africa independently of European Western thought.

This is another superb piece of ivory carving by the Yaouré people of the Ivory Coast. It has been dyed with palm oil.

Our last comb is ivory in remarkable condition, and comes from the Akan people of Ghana. It portrays two ancestors standing in arches carved with intricate sacrificial decoration.

African Crowns of Ancestors

There is a book called, “Powerful Headdresses: Africa and Asia,” which documents the collection of Mrs. Myrna Brind, the wife of Philadelphia philanthropist, Ira Brind. On the cover is a chief’s crown of the Dogon People, who live in the central plateau region of Mali. The bird atop this bronze crown represents ancestors.

However, alain-t, whose meticulous taste in collecting I know well from E-bay, gave a gift to the hair-comb world with this Creative Museum. It has a Dogon crown, which is much more complex and stunning. To me, it looks like the chief on top is crying as he remembers his ancestors, who are sculpted beautifully in brass below. This crown is a story. Well done, alain.

The Portland Tiara

This tiara was made by E. Wolff & Co. for Garrard, the crown jewelers since 1843. It was made c. 1889, shortly after the marriage of the 6th Duke of Portland.

Ivy, formerly the Marchioness of Titchfield, became the Duchess of Portland when she married the 7th Duke. There is a miniature portrait of her wearing this tiara, which required several pieces of family jewelry to be dismantled for its construction.

It has 12 graduated sapphire and diamond clusters, a diamond-set openwork frame, button-shaped pearl and diamond borders, and pear-shaped pear finials. Sale price: 763,650 GBP, or $1,188,239 on Dec. 1, 2010.

Amie Louise Plante

From her home in Cranston, RI, Ms. Plante creates stunning, unique pieces from silver, amethyst, pearl, brass, and enamel. One of her hair pins includes Capiz shell, which is the outer shell of Placuna placenta, a marine mollusk found in the shallow coastal waters of the Philippines. Every element of her hair combs is hand sculpted. Her work reminds me very much of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and of Dartmouth, she has won the Art Jewelry Forum’s Emerging Artist Award. Her shop can be found on Etsy, and these combs are $1200 each.

Art Nouveau and Art Deco in One Face

Art Nouveau’s dedication to the natural world ignited European artists from 1890 – 1905. However, brilliant design has many faces, among them fashion still worn today. In the book, Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa, author Hans Sylvester reveals a fashion revolution in design thinking: Art Nouveau and Art Deco meld into a single concept as plants and bold natural colors decorate the body and face. John Paul Gaultier, take notice. What the Surma and Mursi tribes of East Africa’s Omo Valley have created is worthy of the most elite haute couture runways.

Chanel: Bijoux de diamants

On November 1, 1932, Coco Chanel exhibited her first fine jewelry collection in her “private rooms” at 29 Rue du Faubourg-St.-Honoré, Paris.

She wrote…

“I want jewelry to be like a ribbon around women’s fingers. I started creating costume jewelry because it was refreshingly free of arrogance, during a period that tended towards ostentatious displays of luxury. This consideration faded into the background during the economic recession, when, in every sphere of life, there emerged an instinctive desire for authenticity, and amusing trinkets were once again put in their proper perspective.

“If I have chosen diamonds, it is because they represent the greatest value in the smallest volume. And my love of things that glitter has inspired me to try and combine elegance and fashion through the medium of jewelry.” Paris, 1932

One of her revolutionary ideas was an irregularly shaped star. Not only did she feature it in her famous comet necklace, she put a star on a diadem.

A feathered brooch was also used as a hair ornament.

However, Coco had the worked hands of a great artist. Rodin or Camille Claudel could not have sculpted more beautiful hands.

Malcom Morris Tiaras

Malcom Morris makes replicas of Regency-style tiaras for the film industry and private clients. His studio is in central London. Shopping is by private appointment, only.

This 18-carat gold design was made in 2002. As the stem of gold leaves branch out, they are accented by yellow and green sapphires, pale yellow and crystal beryl, diamonds, and pearls.

Gwyneth Paltrow wore a Morris tiara in the movie, “Shakespeare In Love.” Mixing rose-gold ivy and laurel leaves, the tiara is dotted with amethyst- and citrine-coloured crystal stones and pearls.