D esigner Emmanuel Tarpin erupted onto the international jewelry scene with a quiet and humble air, belying his youth and immense success. At just 28 years old, his resume is already distinguished beyond belief. After a technical background studying at the school of Haute École d’Art et de Design in Geneva, and three years spent in the Parisian workshops of Van Cleef & Arpels, he launched his own brand in 2017 with a pair of geranium earrings. He has since gone on to tend to his garden of jewels for over three years.
In Paris, the astute jeweler keeps a rooftop jardin where he is able to cultivate and study plants at his leisure, turning them into jewels from a desk overlooking the Eiffel Tower. His earrings have landed on the red carpet with mega stars like Rihanna and Mandy Moore. As a boy, he grew up with his family in Annecy, France, trekking the mountain trails through the French Alps, as well as keeping a vegetable patch glistening with dew that would later inspire diamonds and veins of emeralds.
Geneva's Fine Jewels sale – open for bidding 7–15 July – features Tarpin’s pair of “Beanstalk” earrings, made of vivid tsavorites, do wonders to evoke the vibrancy of new, green growth. They twist and squirm like tendrils of lush vegetal life-force, and fork through the earlobe with ease. Tarpin says that he was drawn to the graphic and round shapes of the beanstalk from his personal vegetable patch, and wanted the shape of the earring to be simple, which is often difficult to achieve when depicting a particular specimen of flora in jewelry.
Tarpin says: “There is always an idea of sensuality in my work,” and the curling of the sprig going through the ear is one of the simplest pieces he has made to date, making them extremely easy to wear. He calls them a “fresh young stalk,” and even though they are made with extreme lightness in mind, they still allow for the twisting tsavorites to shine bright on the ear.
I got to know Tarpin over the last few years and I am always astounded to hear from him about his wealth of inspirations and influences like Andy Goldsworthy, a contemporary British sculptor and land artist who is known for creating subtle interventions with nature using found natural objects to create cascading pillars of rock, gradations of leaves, or intertwined branches that are site-specific and that comment on the passage of time.
Tarpin himself has dabbled with these meditative practices – sending a braided chain of sticks and leaves floating out onto the surface of a lake, snaking back to shore. To my eye, the interconnected links of sticks piercing the leaves could easily become a necklace one day.
"Emmanuel is a burgeoning talent with creativity itching for materialization at every juncture in his daily life. He sketches constantly, and hand-paints beautiful beetles, butterflies, corals, and sea life. The inspirational niche between the natural world and the contemporary art world is where his jewelry is comfortably nestled."
Sotheby’s Geneva is delighted to present this pair of tsavorite earrings that are absolutely indicative of Tarpin’s work, blurring the line between hyper-realism and graphic abstraction.