A ring designed by Anish Kapoor. Courtesy of Louisa Guinness Gallery.


LONDON - PAD London, a pavilion of 20th century art and design, takes over central London’s Berkeley Square through 14 October. Expect to find art consultants, collectors and museum people mingling amongst delectable treasures.

Rare 1950s photography by Pablo Picasso, Robert Indiana’s iconic Love sculpture and creative lights by Rolf Sachs all sit alongside refreshing, thought-provoking 20th century jewellery from galleries spanning Paris, London, Brusssels and New York.

Babetto ring. Courtesy of Caroline Van Hoek gallery.

“Jewellery adds another layer to the show,” says top London art and antiques dealer and PAD 2012 selection committee member Adrian Sassoon. “People appreciate excellent craftsmanship in an eminently wearable form.”

Indeed. Italian goldsmith Giovanni Corvaja is Sassoon’s star jeweller and it’s not hard to understand why. The man works with gold transformed into wisps thinner than human hair to create gold jewellery creations you really want to touch – one gold bangle looks like it’s encircled with fur – but are generally a bit too scared to.

“Corvaja’s obsessive zeal results in pieces that defy belief in their detail and intricacy,” says Sassoon.

Bruno Martinazzi's Homo Sapiens Brooch. Courtesy of Didier Limited.

Then there’s Louisa Guinness Gallery. After discovering that influential 20th century artists Picasso, Braque and Calder all made jewellery, Guinness began calling on the likes of Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Sam Taylor Wood. Her repertoire includes jewellery by designer and architect Ron Arad and sculptor Sue Webster, who uses rubbish, mummified rats and blingy neon lights and whose clients include fellow artist Jeff Koons. Webster recently said of her work “it’s almost like anti-jewellery”.

Louisa Guinness clearly believes in beholding jewellery as much as wearing it. “The ethos behind our jewellery is that it serves as a small sculpture – whilst it’s not being worn, it can sit on a coffee table or in a dressing room as a work of art,” she says.

Claire Adler writes on jewellery and watches for the Financial Times and Sotheby's. She consults as a writer and speaker for De Beers, Boodles and the World Gold Council.