TEFAF 2019: The best fine jewellery at this year’s exhibition

TEFAF 2019 (The European Fine Art Fair) opens its doors to 276 exhibitors between 16th – 24th March at the MECC, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Having been established in 1988, the fair has developed a gravitas as one of the most significant in the fine arts calendar. Important jewellery designers choose to create and debut a selection of haute joaillerie specifically for the occasion. In this article, we examine the most exciting and prestigious jewellery designers at this year’s edition of the fair, and the pieces which they will be showcasing.

Cindy Chao

Cindy Chao The Art Jewel will be joining TEFAF this March for the first time, and her exhibit will feature new one-of-a-kind creations. The Black Label Masterpiece XVII ‘Greenovia Brooch’ will be debuted for 2019: centered around a 105.37 carat cat’s eye chrysoberyl, with an astonishing play of composition from almost 2,500 green gems of six varieties: tsavorites, alexandrites, green sapphires, demantoids and emerald.

Cindy Chao The Art Jewel Black Label Masterpiece XVII ‘Greenovia Brooch’ with 105.37ct cat’s eye chrysoberyl, tsavorites, alexandrites, green sapphires, demantoids and emeralds in titanium


Exhibiting at TEFAF Maastricht for the 22nd time this year, Hemmerle’s handcrafted jewels are all conceived and layered with cultural references, confirming their status within the pantheon of fine art jewellery. Their latest creations have been influenced by 20th century art movements Neue Sachlichkeit, Minimalism and Abstraction, particularly Swiss-German artist Paul Klee. Exploring colour theory and the ability to reflect humour through design, Hemmerle reference the stylised face in Klee’s painting ‘Schwarzer Fürst’ (1927) in a new pair of earrings depicting a face with diamond eye, an angular nose in white gold and vertical chin. In the second pair of earrings, the use of elliptical apertures brings to mind the works of Paolo Scheggi and Dadamaino, with blue anodised aluminium creating a layered effect, exposing the pavé set aquamarines beneath. Finally, Korean artist Kibong Rhee's landscape paintings provided inspiration for earrings that pair hazy and dreamlike forest-green jade with spiky reverse-set tsavorites in silver.

Another of the world’s most exclusive jewellers is Glenn Spiro, whose G brand will be showcasing a host of designs that focus on exceptional materials. Playing with colours in titanium, gemstones and diamonds - which are married with intricate cuts that allow for luxurious texture in many of the floral designs - as well as the more abstract forms found in the earrings, rings and necklaces. G is now a regular feature of TEFAF, perfectly encapsulating the high level of skill, craftsmanship and creativity of the Haute Joaillerie exhibitors.

Otto Jakob

Otto Jakob is a German art jeweller who finds inspiration in the the spiritual power of Etruscan, Celtic and Hellenic jewellery, and the two pieces which the designer will showcase at TEFAF reflect this focus. The one of a kind ‘Aquila’ amulet features a cluster of five long prism rock crystals with phantom amethysts inside, and the second one of a kind piece is the ‘Eyrie’ ring, which is composed of a vivid yellow old mine cut diamond that sits in an eyrie of intertwined diamond-set branches in partially oxidized white and yellow gold.

Wallace Chan

Wallace Chan is a regular participant of the TEFAF fair, having been firmly established as one of the most spectacular high jewellery artists in the world. Three new sets of creations will be exclusively showcased at the international exhibition. The ‘Wheel of Time’ necklace is composed of South Sea pearls, 6.01 carats of fancy yellow diamonds, sapphires and diamonds, all set in titanium. The piece is based on the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, whereas the ‘Hera’ parure has been created in the image of the peacock. For this piece, Wallace Chan handpicked each of the hundreds of gemstones over four years to form the gradient colours of the bird’s fancy yellow diamonds, emeralds, and tsavorite garnets which at once compliment one another, and create an optical illusion of shifting colour. The peacock’s eyes are decorated with padparadscha sapphires, and encircling the bird’s diamond pavéd body is a black opal ring which completes the parure. The ‘Butterfly Nebula’ brooches are a jewelled manifestation of a pair of butterfly shaped celestial bodies, glittering like galaxies with central fancy yellow diamonds of 2.01 and 2.32 carats respectively, an further decorated with tsavorites, pink sapphires, amethyst and ruby, all set in titanium.

TEFAF is a not-to-miss art fair for one’s high jewellery calendar, showcasing names which can rarely be found outside of their own ateliers or in museums. If you can make your way to Maastricht this month, then you absolutely should!

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