Emeralds burnish hopes for brighter Afghan future

Cartier’s unlikely precious material, Van Cleef-inspired ballet and other jewellery developments

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At the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan sees part of the gallery reimagined as an Afghan caravanserai.

London-based designer Pippa Small will be the only exhibiting jeweller, with a necklace made in collaboration with Saeeda Etebari, a young female artisan from Kabul who is deaf and dumb. Behind its emerald-laden surface lies a small compartment that holds Afghan soil, a reminder of home as the necklace travels the world.

The exhibition, which runs until January 2017, explores the work of the charity founded in 2006 by the Prince of Wales and the then president of Afghanistan, dedicated to reviving the country’s artisanal heritage and regenerating Murad Khane, an old district in Kabul.

Wood stock

Cartier is turning to an unlikely precious material for an addition to its Amulette collection in April: wood. The timber of choice, snakewood, is more commonly used on guitars and interior furnishings, and marks an unusual high jewellery departure from precious metals and gemstones. The padlocked pendant, ring, earring and long necklace design was introduced last spring.

Strewth!

Graff opened its first Australian store this month, continuing its global expansion and bringing its total count to more than 55 stores worldwide. The new shop will be housed inside the Crown Melbourne hotel and casino complex on the Yarra River. Despite a fall in mining investment last year, sales of luxury jewellery and timepieces grew 5.4 per cent between 2014 and 2015 in Australia, according to Euromonitor.

Cracking idea

Fabergé, the jeweller to the tsars that has been revived by Gemfields, launches two new invisibly-set egg pendants at Baselworld today. They use sapphire and Mozambican ruby in an invisible mosaic setting, recreating that first used by the jeweller before the Russian Revolution, when Nicholas II gave the Mosaic Egg to Tsarina Alexandra as an Easter gift in 1914.

Van Cleef at the barre

On June 24, choreographer Benjamin Millepied — until recently director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet — will bring a vision inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewellery to the stage at London’s Sadler’s Wells theatre. Ballet was a great source of inspiration for the maison’s founder, Louis Arpels, and remains so for contemporary creations such as the Ballet Précieux collection.

Flaubert’s carat

Chaumet is showcasing jewels from its archive in a new exhibition, Une Education Sentimentale (named after Flaubert’s novel), at its Place Vendôme maison until September. A tiara from around 1890 and a pair of winged brooches are among the historic items on display alongside a new, specially-created collection, Escapade de Chaumet. The exhibition is the second in a series of six-month-long archive showcases — so-called “ephemeral museums” — open to the public.

Marino/Murano

Bulgari will open its renovated New Bond Street boutique on April 14. Peter Marino has drawn inspiration from fellow architects Sir John Soane and Carlo Scarpa, by way of Murano crystal chandeliers and classical columns.

Brought to book

This month Assouline publishes a retrospective on jewellery house Messika, the diamond specialist run by Valérie Messika, daughter of dealer André. Messika, which was founded in 2005 and which opened its high jewellery atelier in Paris last year, joins brands like Valentino, Cartier and Chanel on Assouline’s shelves.

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