Flowers have been powerful motifs in art since the beginning of time. Virtually every renowned artist of the 20th century at some point in his or her career used these gentle emblems of nature to express artistic talent and to beautify the world around us.
So it is no surprise, but quite a delight, that the 36th annual San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques show has chosen FLOWER POWER: Floral Imagery in Art, Antiques & Design as its theme.
The opening number here (picture above), the stunning turn-of-the-last-century timepiece is a showstopper. Though I’m not a ‘timepiece person’, this Cartier beauty is an authenticated early 20th century gem, featuring a Cartier watch face set on a pearl bracelet with a gold and ruby floral clasp. The flow of this piece is beautiful, and that CLASP. It truly ‘makes’ this piece. And the coolest part? The watch face was set on a customer’s own pearl bracelet – so it’s literally one-of-a-kind. (From 66Mint Fine Estate Jewelry.)
And now I give you something completely different. Moving from delicate and traditional to industrial and modern, this 18k gold bracelet featuring alternating smooth and striated loops would have been a perfect fit with the 2017 collections. Alas, it’s retro. And older than you might guess. Circa 1940! And signed Cartier-Paris. Monsieur Cartier was indeed ahead of his time! (From Kentshire.)
Moving back into a stricter interpretation of floral, we have a beautiful example of hardware meets software. The hi-tech gold bangle belies its three delicate flowers of old mine diamonds in 18k and silver. (In fact, 5.28 ct. diamonds!) The design is so timeless that I could have picked this up at an edgy boutique here in Los Angeles last weekend. But no! In fact it’s French, circa 1870! (From Kentshire.)
Now, when I think ‘Flower Power’, this is exactly what pops into my mind. Like a daisy, but more precious. And rare. This brooch featuring natural pearl petals around a green peridot center is a classic example of Black Starr & Frost of New York’s work. Dating from the 1890s, its design stays true to the Naturalistic aesthetic popular in late Victorian jewelry. (From Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers.)
A true Victorian lady, this triple chain necklace features a flower ‘centerpiece’ of colored coral, each petal having been hand carved to perfection. I especially love the geometric terminals featuring black and white enamel, and the multi-chain at the bottom makes it feel modern. But of course, it is not. It only looks it. In fact, this gem was created circa the late 1800s. (From Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry.)
Ah, one of my favorite types of jewelry – the cocktail ring! This one is a true confection – like a layer cake sitting atop one’s dainty finger – only instead of sugar, Van Cleef & Arpels used ribbed gold and diamond for the base and first two layers, crowing it with a diamond cluster center in 18k gold and platinum. Yummy! Circa 1955. (1.18 ct. diamonds.) (From Kentshire.)
Finally, perhaps the most ‘ladylike’ of my picks, an Adler ruby and diamond necklace and matching earrings. Although this set dates from the era of Charlie’s Angels, you wouldn’t guess it. I might have said 1950s, or earlier. But that’s the beauty of classic design, you never know! Designed in the Adler atelier in Geneva, this set showcases the company’s talent for creating one-of-a-kind pieces featuring color stones with outlandish fabrication. The necklace alone features 134.97 carats of no-heat ruby cabochons and 31.66 carats of diamonds. If that doesn’t get your heart racing, what would?! And if you’re in the market for a ‘new’ piece, look no further than Adler’s boutiques in London, Hong Kong, Gstaad or Doha. (From Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers.)
Big city weekends are busy, for sure, but this show is not to be missed, so plan your visit now! The San Francisco Art & Antiques Show runs Thursday, October 26 – Sunday, October 29 at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture’s Festival Pavilion. There’s also an Opening Night Preview Gala, on Wednesday evening, October 25, if you want first dibs on your favorite pieces! For complete information, go to http://www.sffas.org/
Enjoy! And be sure to tag me in your posts @onestylishlife on Instagram and Twitter!