As Frieze Art Fair arrives in town flashing its sparkling contemporary art wares, London's Dover Street Market – always one for going against the crowd – has flipped things on its head, revealing a specially curated edit of vintage fine jewellery and watches. Working with four fine jewellery aficionados – Elizabeth Gage, William Welstead, Harry Fane and Bentley & Skinner – the emphasis is on craftsmanship and uniqueness with pieces such as gobstopper gem cocktail rings and exquisite broaches recalling yesteryear.
‘We cater to a very rare animal who appreciates the unique, antique and romantique aspects of these pieces,’ says Harry Fane, who specialises in Cartier watches from the 1920s and 1930s. Fane himself alternates his Apple Watch with a 1940s, 18-carat yellow gold Cartier Tank Normale and has selected a series of pristine condition vintage Cartier watches for the pop up.
William Welstead’s jewels are full of wanderlust and often comprise hand-picked rare and antique stones discovered on his travels around the globe, which he then re-mounts in contemporary settings of his own design. Look out for his 4.01-carat emerald ring set in 22-carat yellow gold; devastating in its simplicity. On the contrary, Elizabeth Gage’s theatrical designs are aesthetically rich in history, recalling banners of 14th century pageantry and Louis XIV style dramatics. Inspired by museums and the animal kingdom for her designs, she says, 'In some way, the stones tell me what to do with them and I listen.' Her yellow gold, enamel and diamond Zodiac band decorated with mythological astronomy figures is typical, as is her chunky Templar ring which holds a faceted pink sapphire. Their substantial sizes often appeal to men, too.
Carriers of the Royal Warrant, Bentley & Skinner, will be including tiaras in their first collaboration, such as a breath-taking late Victorian pearl and diamond tiara from 1890; five graduated natural pearl drop and diamond clusters (weighing a total of 5.20 carats) festoon a delicate gold frame.
In keeping with DSM’s chic, sleek display (and mirroring the hanging space in Regent's Park), these treasures will be displayed in stark white cube vintrines, alongside current jewellery stars including Alice Cicolini, Diane Kordas, Spinelli Kilcollin, Lynn Ban and Sophie Bille Brahe.