BLOG-Visitor numbers up as Masterpiece seals status as London’s premier luxury fair
BY DAVID BROUGH
July 8, 2017 – Masterpiece London has established itself as London’s premier luxury fair and a leading showcase for high end contemporary, vintage and antique jewellery.
Masterpiece drew huge crowds of international glitterati shopping for the finest jewellery, art and design for the home, with visitor numbers up around 20 percent year-on-year.
Exquisite one-off jewels from maisons such as Chatila, Verdura and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as original Faberge pieces at the Wartski stand, were presented inside a huge marquee in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, for just over a week, from June 27, the Patrons and Curators Evening, to July 5.
The fair featured rare art, including paintings by the Impressionist Claude Monet, as well as George Stubbs, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali; Georgian furniture from top London showrooms such as Apter-Fredericks and Godson & Coles; first edition books, like “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) at Peter Harrington Rare Books, and a sleek Riva motor boat.
Masterpiece has become a leading event of the London social season, alongside Wimbledon tennis, the Chelsea Flower Show, and Royal Ascot horse racing attended by Queen Elizabeth.
Throughout the show, Masterpiece thronged with super-rich visitors from around the world, sipping champagne as they browsed among the rare and beautiful objects and art.
The weakness of the pound since Britain voted last year to leave the European Union, created bargain opportunities for buyers whose fortunes were denominated in other currencies.
Upscale estate agent Savills was on hand at Masterpiece to reach out to investors in a prime new luxury real estate development at Chelsea Barracks, near the Royal Hospital Chelsea venue. The soft pound has created value opportunities in top London real estate for buyers holding stronger currencies.
Some of the most precious items at Masterpiece included jewellery set with the most opulent gemstones, such as an extraordinarily rare, unheated nine-carat Burmese ruby ring at the stand of Bond Street jeweller Chatila, for USD$5 million.
“It is an extremely rare stone. The fact that it is unheated enhances its value,” said Chatila’s representative Paul Keen.
Verdura presented superbly crafted, colourful jewels in limited editions that were associated with movie stars and celebrities such as Greta Garbo, Tyrone Power, and Coco Chanel.
“Verdura jewels are extraordinary because of their links to some of the world’s biggest celebrities and their exquisite beauty,” said Verdura managing director James Haag, Jr.
London jeweller Hancocks also added a touch of Hollywood glamour to the Fair.
It presented a gold cuff, previously owned by one of America’s favourite child actresses and number one box office stars, Shirley Temple.
The Shirley Temple Lalaounis wide cuff bangle is by Greek goldsmith and jeweller Ilias Lalaounis, the most requested jeweller of the moment at Hancocks.
Created in luxurious 18ct yellow gold, the textured-finish cuff has a strong design with raised scrolling motifs, steeped in Byzantine influence, and was made by Lalaounis in his 1970s heyday.
Chinese artist-jeweller Wallace Chan, whose stand was one of the most frequented at Masterpiece, showed off his highly skilled craftsmanship, presenting a remarkable cicada brooch made of imperial jade and precious gemstones.
“Wallace Chan shows his work at Masterpiece because this is one of the world’s top art and jewellery shows,“ said Catherine Yu, President International of Wallace Chan.
Apart from contemporary creations, vintage jewellery was very prominent at the Fair.
Monaco-based Veronique Bamps presented a custom-made tiger bracelet from Cartier Paris, made of 18ct yellow gold, onyx and emeralds, dated around 2000 and priced at USD$1.1 million.
Bamps and London antique jeweller S.J. Phillips had a selection of highly collectible Art Deco Cartier jewellery, dating from the 1920s and 1930s, which could be considered as investment pieces because of their rarity, beauty and craftsmanship.
S.J. Phillips also presented a selection of unique precious Portuguese antique jewellery.