The talk was that art sales are down and jewelry sales are down but you wouldn’t know it during the preview day of The European Fine Arts Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands. Opened to invited buyers and press on March 9, the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC) was mobbed with wealthy art lovers and public institutions looking to purchase items before the doors opened to the general public the following day.
Within the bamboo framed exhibition space of German high jeweler, Hemmerle, a woman tried on a pair of one-of-a-kind gold earrings made with a wax process that created gold strands in a basket-like weave. She walked back and forth briefly looking in the mirror and bought them on the spot.
One-of-a-kind earrings by Hemmerle using old mine cut diamonds that appear to be floating inside gold in weave-pattern created with an unusual elaborate wax technique
“The fair is our first public presentation each year and we are glad to report strong consistent sales from the first 10 minutes of day one,” said Christian Hemmerle.
A ruby appears to be floating within two amethysts
Before I had a chance to enter the booth containing the dreamlike world of Wallace Chan, the famed Hong Kong jewelry artist sold one of his elaborate titanium and colored-gem brooches.
These sapphire bracelets can be worn together on one wrist or on each wrist
Meanwhile, Ward and Nico Landrigan, the father and son team that own the mid-20th Century brands, Verdura and Belperron, were in good spirits after selling a circa 1960 yellow gold and diamond Verdura brooch.
Verdura pearl, emerald, diamond, ruby and 18k gold bird.
Over where antique and estate jewelry were being exhibited, a shock of excitement went through some of the crowd when it was learned that Hancocks of London sold the Spencer family Edwardian diamond tiara. It was given to Lady Delia Spencer, great aunt to Princess Diana, by her father the 6th Earl Spencer, on her wedding day in 1914. Set with more than 800 old cut diamonds, estimated to weigh a total of 48 carats, the tiara can be transformed into a choker necklace and bracelet.
The Spencer Tiara at Hancocks London booth moments before it sold.
None of the prices of these sales were revealed but these are not typical impulse purchases. These are items that sell from tens of thousands of dollars to figures not mentioned in polite company. One price that was revealed was the “Nef” necklace, from German high jeweler Otto Jakob that sold for €142,000 ($153,580).