Masterpiece London, a stylish showcase for high jewellery and luxury, and a magnet for collectors, has earned its place since its inception a decade ago as a leading event of the London social season. David Brough takes us through the show floor highlights.
Collectors and glitterati mingled over more than a week from late June to early July in a vast white marquis in private grounds in elegant Chelsea, shopping for an array of high luxury, spanning contemporary, vintage and antique high jewellery, fabulous classic Ferraris, fine art, furniture, clocks and silverware, rare books, objects and minerals.
Among the celebrities and luminaries, composer and impresario of musical theatre Andrew Lloyd Webber (Lord Webber); Lord Coe, winner of four Olympics athletics medals; former UK Finance Minister George Osborne; actor Nigel Havers; UK jewellery designer Stephen Webster (a high-profile visitor to Indian trade events like the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS)); and an inevitable mix of British TV stars, joined the throngs amidst the stands featuring rare and exquisite art, interior design and adornments.
Masterpiece now stands firmly as part of the London social season, alongside Royal Ascot, the Henley Royal Regatta, and the Wimbledon and Queen’s Club tennis championships, before the glitterati jet off to the Mediterranean and other sunny climes in July and August.
This year, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the mood of visitors was upbeat as they had looked forward to networking again, and organisers spoke of buoyant sales.
Amidst the glorious diamond- and gemstone-set high jewellery, standouts included a 102-carat fancy brown yellow diamond necklace, a “Moussaieff by Anna Hu” creation, from Bond Street jeweller Moussaieff.
Moussaieff presented pieces including a gorgeous emerald-set bangle created in Art Deco style, an assortment of jewels featuring magnificent Paraiba tourmalines, and received several enquiries about a supremely rare, 10-carat unheated Burmese “pigeon blood” ruby.
Art jeweller Cindy Chao exhibited a well-guarded, darkened display room featuring some of her remarkable and delicate designs, including a Dragonfly Brooch, set with diamonds, emeralds and tsavorites.
S. J. Phillips showed off some exquisite antique pieces of high diamond jewellery, including a Mellerio diamond and ruby necklace, dated circa 1905.
Wartski, who have a boutique on St James’s Street, London, presented Queen Marie-Antoinette’s pearls, mounted in a necklace, as well as original House of Fabergé pieces from the time of Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920). The Victoria and Albert Museum in London recently staged a popular exhibition featuring the works of Fabergé, including the famous Fabergé eggs.
Sumptuous antique and vintage jewels featured at Sandra Cronin, gorgeous gem-set pieces abounded at Milanese jeweller Sabbadini, and Verdura presented an opulent assortment of Retro jewels with links to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
The Patrons and VIP lounge was packed throughout the fair with serious collectors, aesthetes and aficionados of high luxury sipping Pol Roger champagne and discussing their personal highlights of the show.
The magnificent luxury on offer, and the prestige of the collectors, have ensured Masterpiece’s place at the top table of international art fairs.