Inspiration and Innovation: Our Beginnings
rawing on its unrivaled expertise and experience in jewelry, on its legacy of trust and tradition, connections and connoisseurship, Sotheby’s launched an entirely new contemporary collection of modern masterpieces: Sotheby’s Diamonds. This pioneering venture brought together the most exceptional and desirable diamonds, cutting-edge design and superlative craftsmanship in a very modern, forward-looking house. It linked the entire complex chain of supply and creation, from the most trusted and transparent sources of the finest raw material to the most sophisticated design and rarefied craftsmanship, following the near-magical transformation, from rough to refined, that lies behind each magnificent diamond jewel.
Poetry and Precision: Tomorrow’s Classics
Very often the most avant-garde designs become the classics of the future. Drawing on an eye for beauty, instinct for quality and refined taste honed over centuries through its precious connections to art, jewels, collectors and connoisseurs, Sotheby’s has a profound understanding of what creates an heirloom. Sotheby’s Diamonds has developed a powerful, graphic, modernist aesthetic: linear, architectural, contemporary but with poetry, fluidity and sensuality. The focus is on perfect proportions, a seamless integration of concept, line, form and material, on a subtle play of texture and translucencies. In every intensely individual design, the diamond is always at the heart of the composition, its light and life the soul of the jewel.
Each creation is inspired by an aspect of Sotheby’s expertise and experience: art, architecture, sculpture, stately homes, jewels of the aristocracy and nobility, great women of style, and of course, the diamond itself, the magnificent muse casting its spell over all its collections. The jewels of Sotheby’s Diamonds showcase the magnificence, majesty and modernity of diamonds.
A Meeting of Mines and Minds: A Partnership
For this venture, Sotheby’s formed a partnership with Diacore, world-leading specialists in sourcing, cutting and polishing extraordinary diamonds. Renowned within the industry, their artisan cutters understand the centuries-old secrets held within a diamond, a miracle of nature, and know just how to unleash the beauty, inner light, life and brilliance of each individual stone. This quest for perfection represents the synergy between man and nature.
One of the most respected and experienced jewelry specialists, Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Diamonds, draws on her skill and knowledge as well as instinct and intuition to then select the stones that are always the starting point for a Sotheby’s Diamonds jewel. She is a true insider with an unerring eye and taste, and looks not only for superb quality, color clarity and excellent cut, but also for charm and character, vitality, vivacity, fire, life and brilliance in each diamond.
Perfect Synergy: Design and Craftsmanship
At Sotheby’s Diamonds, the diamond itself is the muse, theme and inspiration, an endless story. Each jewel starts with the stone, each concept and design revolve around a particular diamond, which becomes its central theme, its hero and shining light.
The creative process begins with a hand-drawn sketch, an idea and a vision which is then refined, honed and immaculately hand-painted as a detailed gouache in the time-honored tradition of classical High Jewelry. The finished gouache, with its three-dimensional lyricism, intricate shading and drops of liquid light, marks an intimate moment of clarity and fulfilment for the designer. This work demands the dedication and patience of a medieval miniaturist, as the finest of brush strokes render the intense saturated color, scintillating brilliance and refracted light of gems and metals, capturing the richness of the jeweler’s palette. It is through the gouache that the designer fully engages with the concept, taking the time to perfect proportions, volumes and details, to present the jewel and the design in its purest form. They are prized as artworks in their own right.
The gouache is the vital link between art and craft, often highlighting technical challenges, and conveying the idea that has taken shape in the imagination to the master craftsmen who will be responsible for translating the concept into three-dimensional form, bringing the vision to life. The jewels of Sotheby’s Diamonds are handmade by highly skilled experts, dedicated to achieving unrivaled finesse and refinement of exquisite details, including meticulous pavé settings, reverse settings and immaculately calibrated stones. The exceptional lightness of settings and slender silhouettes, often in unexpected materials like steel, are made possible by the latest technological innovations, combining high-tech processes with age-old artisanal skills. The relationship between designer and artisan is crucial to the success of the jewel and plays the essential, pivotal role in the world of High Jewelry.