Original, high luxury jewelry creations from independent designers and niche brands have long sparked jewelry trends due to fresh styles, intriguing materials, artistic silhouettes and irresistible allure. Connecting important high luxury jewelry designers with retailers and jewelry-loving customers is London-based tastemaker and jewelry business consultant Valery Desmurs, founder of Objet d’Emotion. As important a force in the realm of fine art and jewelry fairs as she is in the world of online independent jewelry retail, Desmurs and Objet D’Emotion are presenting at the luxury design fair PAD (Pavilion of Art and Design) London from October 10 through 15th. At PAD, Objet d’Emotion jewelry designers join a select group of jewelers, fine art gallerists and furniture dealers in the show’s Berkeley Square, Mayfair tented space. With a collector’s preview on October 10 and a VIP opening on the 11th, PAD is open to the public from the 12th through the 15th.
This writer caught up with Desmurs last week to discuss how and why Objet d’Emotion has been showing at PAD for the past four years in London, Paris, Monaco and Geneva. We also discussed the typically eclectic and thought-provoking Objet d’Emotion curation for PAD’s October 2023 edition, which is entitled ‘Jewellery Dreamin’. When asked to describe the environment and visual/sensual vibes of Objet d’Emotion’s stand at PAD, Desmurs replied, “Our Objet d’Emotion environment is a sensual place, and the scenography of the booth has something of a contemporary surrealist feel. Our colour palette is blush, as in skin, mustard, gold and grey-silver, like metal, and red. The vibe warmly conveys bold femininity. I am super excited,” she added, “by the ceramic and glass objects we are presenting. These are nice crazy creatures that watch over the jewels in our vitrines.”
According to Desmurs, “Illustrated by a stylized selfie photo portrait of two young teenage girls, the Jewellery Dreamin’ exhibit image was designed to make you wonder, are these two actually wearing these artful jewels, or are they just imagining it all?” With a smile, Demurs continued, “The photo also suggests with humor and tenderness how narcissism is nurtured 24-7 by our social media-saturated; selfie-shooting society.” This quirky, amusing way of presenting haute luxe jewels encapsulates the Objet d’Emotion philosophy. As Desmurs ventured, “The best jewelry always contains emotional, cultural and historic elements of its makers’ times and place, yet remains forever in style. Objet d’Emotion designers always advance new paradigms of jewelry, plus various aspects of the Zeitgeist.” In other words, this is highly collectible, limited edition, haute luxe jewelry, as opposed to branded-as-luxury, mass produced jewelry.
Some of the designers Objet d’Emotion is showing at PAD for the first time this year include Hum, from Japan. “I am happy to present a selection of rings from Hum, “Desmurs related, “which is a brand that embodies a quiet, discreetly chic and artistic vision. I am equally pleased to present a concise edit of iconic designs in gold by the legendary Greek jeweler, Minas, who is showing for the first time in London. Sculptural, sensual and bold, Minas jewels are classic,” she said, “and not for the faint hearted. Yet Minas pieces are super comfortable and look so stunning on the body.”Objet d’Emotion at PAD is also presenting Aaltas, a young, Switzerland-based brand that creates elegant designs out of beautifully sculpted aluminum and precious gemstones.” Objet d’Emotion is proudly showing the Brazilian brand Sauer because, as Desmurs puts it, “I love their pieces, which are inspired by the fabulous world of fungi. Sauer’s jewels are a little surreal, super chic and beautifully crafted.”
This week at PAD London, Objet d’Emotion is launching the U.S.-based brand Cultus Artem, a collection of fine jewelry created by artist/designer Holly Tupper. As Demure recounted, “Each one-of-a-kind, 18k gold piece unites precious and vintage raw materials from Tupper’s personal collection sourced over the course of three decades.” In artistic juxtapositions, Cultus Artem pieces pair the rough with the refined, the crystalline with the hand-hewn and the organic with the streamlined. “Each stone and gem from Tupper’s personal collection is imbued with the presence of Nature and the past,” Demure mused. “There is something beautifully rare, totally sensual, luxurious and sustainable about Cultus Artem jewels, because Tupper’s designs honors he inherent beauty of gemstones, whether creatively showcased by human hands, or left pristine as they are found in nature.”
According to Desmurs, “Each independent brand I am showing has a wholly unique vision and an immediately recognizable style. Objet d’Emotion offers jewelry lovers a colorful, highly textured, sophisticated and rare world tour of new jewelry. Long live individuality!” Speaking of individuals, Desmurs reports that the typical Objet d’Emotion client is extremely interested in the worlds of high-end jewelry and craft. “They have educated minds and educated eyes, they are passionate about design-driven jewelry that is innovative in forms, materials and overall effect,” she said. “Our clients are confident, inquisitive and they like to learn about the designer and the work…and often, both. They have a taste for the unconventional.
PAD London is an important fair to participate in as it attracts a cosmopolitan, design-driven and adventurous audience. Desmurs also mentioned the fact that the show, founded by a Frenchman, originated in Paris and also features a seasoned selection committee of experts. “This group is composed of highly experienced and well-known dealers, each of whom is distinguished by his or her own specialty,” Desmurs noted. “The PAD selection committee examines applications according to the criteria of ethics, quality and aesthetics which form the foundations of PAD’s reputation.” (This committee is a kind of parliament representing the show’s exhibitors and unique offerings, and members share their insights into the ever-shifting indexes of the haute luxe jewelry world and art market with PAD’s organizers.)
“The PAD exhibitors and their stands are elegant without being stuffy, and the PAD fair gives attendees an experience of many modes of contemporary, daring and adventurous design,” Desmurs said. There are some great galleries showing such as Nilufar Gallery from Milan, and Fumi Gallery. I also love Florian Daguet Bresson, who had one of the best stands at PAD London last year with a great presentation of ceramics from young artists.” As Objet d’Emotion exhibits jewelry that embodies innovative design and the mastery of unconventional materials, it complements PAD’s other exhibitors. “I like sensual and bold forms,” Desmur mused. Although she collects jewelry and unusual objects that are alive with clean shapes, interesting textures and colours, “I am not a design junkie,” she declared. “When I see a great piece of jewelry,” she reflected, “I get goosebumps and feel a surge of energy. I want to wear it, and I can become totally obsessed with a jewel’s concept, form, materials, textures, colors and juxtapositions of elements.”
While she readily admitted that there is no universally agreed upon definition of luxury jewelry, Desmurs believes that an essential element of the definition must include rarity. “After all, there’s a great deal of mass produced jewelry that has been branded as luxury,” she noted. “How can an 18-karat gold bracelet that is as easy to find in an airport terminal as a McDonald’s hamburger is be considered luxurious?” she asks. How can global brand boutiques that are situated in malls around the world be considered to be selling luxury jewelry?” These questions are integral to the Jewellery Dreamin’ presentation.
As Desmurs concluded, “I want to present an array of jewels that my 13-year-old daughter, Paloma and her friends dream of wearing when they are grown up. Why can’t they aspire to wear incredible jewels that tell a story or convey intriguing moods instead of wearing trendy tat that is sold in chain stores around the world?” she asked. Although she admits that young girls and most people can never afford to buy Objet d’Emotion jewels, to dream about wearing beautiful jewels made by artisans in small workshops is to identify with handmade, rare artistic jewelry in a time when mass-produced jewels are glutting the market.
When first viewed, the Jewellery Dreamin’ portrait prompted this writer to wonder whether these girls are enjoying wearing beautiful jewels, caught in a vortex of luxury consumption or simply posing for the fun of it. Commenting on the image, Demure ventured, “These young women cannot afford to buy luxury jewels and would never think of going jewelry shopping at PAD, yet they may already be aspiring to wear fine and rare jewels that help express their individuality. I think there are plenty of people, young and old, who believe in design, artisanal jewelry heritage and the future of handmade luxury jewelry.” As PAD London offers free admission to students, it seems likely that in addition to attracting prestige jewelry collectors, Objet d’Emotion’s stand will also magnetically attract young people who are variously making fine luxury jewelry, collecting it and perhaps, even dreaming of wearing it when they are grown and can afford to purchase it for themselves.