Lot 43
  • 43

'Contra Mundum' (Against the World) White Gold and Diamond Evening Glove, Shaun Leane

300,000 - 400,000 USD
312,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Diamond, gold
Eighteen karat white gold glove section engraved with fine lines following the contours of the hand; applied with a tracery of branches and the silhouettes of birds in flight, set with diamonds. Gold chainmail finger sections with similarly adorned finger joints and finger tips set with diamond finger nails and attached with a hinged rear closure. The chainmail sleeve section featuring detachable pavé-set diamond bird and branch cuff, while the chainmail ground is applied with 11 birds in flight, three of which feature large diamond centers. Joined with three clasps at the rear.  Diamonds totaling 4,290 stones, together weighing approximately 52.00 carats, approximately F color, VS clarity.  Gold weight totaling approximately 643 dwts, length 8 inches, sleeve section 1 ½ inches, detachable cuff 9 ½ inches, signed Shaun Leane, with marker's marks and British hallmarks; 2010.

Catalogue Note

As a child, Daphne’s fascination with armor began through her reading of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. She was captivated by the book’s pictures of Renaissance knights, and was further inspired by trips to the Metropolitan and Wallace Museums where she was able to closely inspect richly ornamented suits of armor. When considering her choice of words in naming the glove, Daphne settled on ‘Contra Mundum’ because she said: 'Armor is like a mask; a protective layer that keeps you hidden from the world. There is something isolating, yet strangely reassuring when you put it on.'

Shaun Leane recalls, ‘At a crowded exhibition opening at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Lee, Daphne and myself huddled in a corner trying avoid the mayhem. She said to me, “Shaun, I need some armor to protect me,’ a simple sentence that triggered the creation of this piece. It combines an armor-like structure with the elegant femininity of a satin evening glove. The diamond cuff can be detached and worn separately as a bracelet – making the glove more versatile to wear.

'It took four years to make by myself and three other craftsmen. It took one year alone just to produce the hand-linked chainmail sleeve which included 21 separate fittings to ensure its perfection. I personally crafted the diamond-set finger tips, knuckles and the myriad diamond birds that encircle it. The fine engraved lines on the hand-piece are intended to represent the wind. The idea for the birds came to me on a trip to India with Lee. In the distance, I noticed hundreds of birds on a rooftop that rose to the skies in a giant flock, grouping together to fend off eagles and other predators. These swooping birds seemed the perfect adornment for Daphne’s armor glove.

For me, this piece exemplifies Shaun Leane jewellery today. It’s where dreams are turned into reality, where we push the boundaries both technically and in terms of design. It’s where jewellery becomes fashion – like the finest piece of intricately-detailed haute couture.’ S.L.

Worn by Lady Gaga with Daphne Guinness on the cover of V Magazine’s V99 issue.