Top Ten: TEFAF New York

November 3, 2017 Cheryl Kremkow Jewelry Design 12 Comments

In only its third edition in New York, the TEFAF fair has arrived as a showcase for fine jewelry as well as art and antiques. In all the jewelry booths I visited, I saw jewelry collectors not just admiring the magnificence on display but shopping. Are you in the market for some JAR earrings or a Lalique necklace? Or looking to admire the work of some of the top contemporary jewelers from around the world? TEFAF has you covered.

Because the fair was so busy, I didn’t get to photograph all the amazing jewels I saw at the fair. Here are my top ten TEFAF jewels.

Music on My Mind Ring by Wallace Chan, photo by @kremkow

Wallace Chan Music on My Mind Parure

The highlight of a mind-blowing exhibition of 20 jewels, this spectacular ruby parure features an incredible suite of Burmese rubies from a private collector who commissioned Wallace Chan to create a design worthy of their magnificence. Chan was inspired by the blood red color of the rubies to design a necklace in a heartbeat form. He told me he paired the hot passion of the rubies with cool blue opals to provide balance. The necklace is designed to move on the body: each ruby is set on an opal plaque and suspended around the neck on a waveform collar that sits on the collarbone. A matching ring and earrings complete the parer. Every surface is inlaid and paved with gems. I’ll publish a full interview with Chan on his process and inspirations in an upcoming post.


Ruby Castle Ring by Wallace Chan, photo by @kremkow

Wallace Chan Ruby Castle Ring

The unusual faceted shape of this titanium ring set with pink sapphires was inspired by the microscopic crystalline structure of ruby. Chan says the ruby found him and told hom what to do with it. Amazingly, the center gem is tension set with no pins or prongs using a technique invented for this ring.


Garnet and Tourmaline Earrings by JAR from Veronique Bamps, photo by @kremkow

JAR Earrings at Veronique Bamps

My favorite of two pair of JAR earrings at Veronique Bamps, thos design is dramatic yet wearable. The unusual coor colmbination of dark red garnet, salmon tourmaline and amethyst pave is distinctive and flattering to the skin. One woman I saw try them on admiringly had sold her previous pair of JAR earrings because they were uncomfortable to wear but found these much better. I like the mismatched colors and the unusual gem cut. They were made in 1995.


Rene Boivin Cuff from Siegelson, photo by @kremkow

René Boivin Cuff at Siegelson

This 1934 carved rock crystal and diamond cuff by René Boivin is an Art Moderne classic that’s still so wearable today. It really lights up in the spotlight. It was designed by Juliette Moutard, who took over as Boivin’s lead designer after Suzanne Belperron left to found her own firm. René Boivin had an amazing group of female jewelry designers at a time when there were very few of them and they created modern fashionable jewelry that’s very collectible today.


Suzanne Belperron Earclips from Siegelson, photo by @kremkow

Suzanne Belperron Ear Clips at Siegelson

Would you believe 1933? Suzanne Belperron designed these Nautilus diamond ear climbers for René Boivin. They were featured in Vogue in 1934. I think they’d still turn heads on the red carpet today. Check out Siegelson’s Instagram feed to see the original sketch for the earrings, which also shows the details of the clips that fasten them to your lobes, which are larger and more intricate than most designers use for climbers today. I’d love to wear them for a day and see if it makes them more comfortable and stable too.


Otto Jakob Hoops, photo by @kremkow

Otto Jakob Hoops

These earrings are almost subtle and understated but the closer you look, the more incredible they are. Otto Jakob described the intricate process for creating these earrings to me in detail. They start with a square tube of gold, just 0.25mm thick. The tube is filled with copper so it will hold its shape and then it is twisted (clockwise for one earring, counterclockwise for the other) and coiled into the hoop shape. Then the copper is etched out with acid, leaving behind the gold. Then the gold is carved away to add in the sections where the snake coils through the hoop and the spring-loaded hinge is added. Then the snake is paved with black and brown diamonds and the body of the hoop is covered with a custom translucent matte grey enamel. I probably missed a step or two but it gives you an idea of his fanatical attention to detail. By the way, Jakob doesn’t entirely approve of this image. “They look a bit shiny,” he told me. “I was going for something more subtle.”


Moonstone Cuff by Hemmerle, photo by @kremkow

Hemmerle Moonstone Cuff

Hemmerle never disappoints and it’s hard to choose one piece to spotlight. (Fortunately I interviewed Christian Hemmerle about the new collection and will post details on many new designs in an upcoming post.) This cuff isn’t new, it’s from 2006, but it irrestibly combines the sleek Hemmerle aesthetic with a very unusual 200-carat moonstone. It has a milk-and-honey quality and greenish color that remind me of chrysoberyl. It has amazing reflection. I though it had a polished mirror of metal behind it but when I turned it over the stone is visible underneath. (You can see the reflection of the stone in my image above.)


Georges Bouquet Ring from A. Aardewerk, photo by @kremkow

Georges Fouquet Ring at A. Aardewerk

This lovely Art Nouveau ring by Georges Fouquet has luminescent plaque-à-jour enamel in the ethereal blue that Bouquet is known for but also a lovely abstract pattern that has timeless appeal. It’s from 1908 and the design drawing of the ring is in the Museé des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. I love the asymmetry of the marquise sapphires, which feels so modern.


Rene Lalique Necklace from A. Aardewerk, photo by @kremkow

Rene Lalique Necklace at A. Aardewerk

This 1901 pendant is almost understated but the lifelike movement of the leaves and the delicately translucent plique-à-jour enamel are the signature of Art Nouveau jewelry master Rene Lalique. I was almost afraid to touch this necklace which is in perfect condition: it even has the original chain with mauve enamel accents. There were more showy Lalique pieces (including a spectacular portrait necklace with exquisite pine cone details at Wartski) but the simplicity and modesty of this design won my heart.


Tiffany Orchid Brooch designed by Paulding Farnham from Veronique Bamps, photo by @kremkow

G. Paulding Farnham Orchid at Veronique Bamps

In 1889, Tiffany & Co exhibited 24 enamelled orchid jewels by 29-year old jewelry designer Paulding Farnham at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. They were an immediate sensation. Tiffany immediately began work on 14 more. This 1890 orchid with a dangling Old European Cut diamond is one of those 15. Supremely rare and in fabulous condition (it has a minor enamel repair by Tiffany), this orchid brooch is amazingly lifelike, with a velvety matte finish and a subtle shine coming through the enamel from the 18k gold underneath. Delicate and beautiful, this is also a piece of jewelry history.



  1. Diamond For Good 10 months Reply

    Excellent colorful rings and designs. Hope we can do something like this on diamonds. Your knowledge about jewelry is god gift to us.

    Thank You
    Diamond For Good

  2. Godhuly Barma 2 years Reply

    Hey there! I simply would like to give a substantial thumbs up for the fantastic details you have here on this message. I will be coming back to your blog site for more soon.

  3. Yen Tran 4 years Reply

    I have a great collection of very unique/ornate fashion jewelry that I have meticulously designed and created using pearls, crystals and write. Words cannot describe my work but you will not be disappointed. Please check my designs out on Instagram/FB.

    Your feedback would be priceless.
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  4. Anaheim Hills Jewelry 5 years Reply

    Absolutely! What an incredible post!!
    I would like to share my best jewelry with you, please visit my website to know all the new things I have created to offer for you.
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  5. Lee Wiser McIntosh 5 years Reply

    Such great coverage of TEFAF. The photography is truly informative.

    • Cheryl Kremkow 5 years Reply

      Thanks so much Lee! It’s really a privilege to be able to photograph these treasures! I really look forward to it!

  6. Anne Dale Jewelers 5 years Reply

    Excellent post, very informative. I really like the post

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