Colin Gleadell looks at the new interest in jewelry designed by artists:
The most prominent 20th-century artist to work in this vein was the American sculptor Alexander Calder, whose best handmade jewellery from the Forties has sold at auction for as much as $350,000 (£230,000). At the Art Basel Miami Beach fair this month, the Pace Wildenstein gallery from New York mounted a special display of Calder jewellery, where prices ranged from $25,000 to $450,000. An exhibition of his jewellery is currently at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and will travel to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin next year. [ . . . ]
“Wearable art is the new jewellery,” says Guinness, and it is beginning to catch on. In addition to other specialised galleries that have sprung up in Germany, Paris and New York, museums are also taking an interest. In the past two years, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have acquired large collections of art jewellery. “They represent another art form. You don’t find them in the jewellery store,” says Jane Aldin, of the Metropolitan.
In Russia, where people are anticipating a devaluation of the rouble, they are putting their cash into gold, which has reached record price levels. The Sotheby’s sale is, therefore, a test both for contemporary art and for the jewellery market as a whole.