Collection blurs border between art and jewellery

Parisian Zoo by Palais Royal Paris Boutique features exquisite animal pieces

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 September, 2014, 11:37am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 September, 2014, 10:22pm

One piece is a diamond, sapphire and enamel dragonfly shining bright blue, others are birds and bees gleaming with gold and diamonds.

They are part of a jewellery collection by Palais Royal Paris Boutique that straddles the fine line between art and fashion. Opening tomorrow in Central, this is the boutique's first sales exhibition in the city.

The French company, which opened its first boutique in Hong Kong last year, deals in antique, vintage and collectable fine jewellery.

Titled "Parisian Zoo", the show features about 100 pieces, most of which are sourced from France and the US.

"Hong Kong has a huge collectable jewellery market. So this show, with so many unique pieces, will appeal not just to jewellery lovers, but also to lovers of art," says Esmée Sanders, director of Palais Royal in Hong Kong.

"Parisian Zoo brings together fine jewellery inspired by the animal world, including vintage pieces from the 1950s and pieces from the late 19th century."

Some of the French jewellery houses represented include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermès, Sterlé, and Boucheron. "Through the ages, the animal kingdom has been a great source of artistic inspiration. This goes from ancient times, when animal-inspired jewellery was worn as an amulet to protect or to empower, and to symbolise love, fertility and prosperity, to more recent times, where the beautiful designs of animal jewellery are artistic, colourful and whimsical," says Sanders.

"Every well-established French jewellery brand has drawn inspiration from the animal world, and used all kinds of precious material, gemstones and techniques to produce their bejewelled animal kingdom."

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a Cartier brooch from the 1960s. A turtle with amethyst, diamond and a large cabochon-cut natural purple Ceylon sapphire, set in 18-carat gold, the piece is one of a kind.

Another interesting piece is an 18-carat gold French art nouveau brooch from the late 1890s. It's designed as a dragonfly, with the wings decorated with old cut diamonds and fine blue-toned translucent enamel.

"The dragonfly is my favourite. It has enamel work which uses techniques that are not found in contemporary jewellery. When you hold the piece up to the light it's like looking through a kaleidoscope. It's quite spectacular," says Sanders.

Other jewellery houses represented include Boucheron and Buccellati. Van Cleef & Arpels is represented by its whimsical designed "Boutique animals", first produced in the 1950s, and featuring lions, cats, a fox and a panda.

Sanders says that prices range from HK$3,000 to a one-of-a-kind piece valued at HK$2 million.

Parisian Zoo, Palais Royal Paris Boutique, 74a Hollywood Rd, Central, tel: 2964 9088