This spring, visionary jewelry designer Elie Top has lent his expertise to two Sotheby’s sales, curating a selection of jewels within the Joaillerie Paris sale on 30 April, and offering twelve of his own creations in an exclusive online sale, open for bidding from 25 April until 7 May. Top seamlessly blends the old and new with his highly acclaimed designs as well as the costume jewels he created for Yves Saint-Laurent and Lanvin.
In curating the first thirty lots of the Paris Joaillerie catalogue, he celebrates the retro style of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, with bold and timeless designs in vibrant gold and diamonds. Highlights include a gold and diamond Tank ring of geometric design created in 1945 by Suzanne Belperron – a strong influence in Top’s work, a diamond demi-parure “Tourbillons” by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1948, including a brooch and a pair of earrings of floral design, and a double gold and diamond clip brooch designed by Sterlé in 1951.
For Top, taking part in an auction is almost akin to going back to his beginnings. He confides: “Along with books, auction catalogues formed the basis of my early scholarship: like precious school texts, they were wonderful sources of knowledge, and I would ceaselessly return to them to train my eye, develop my own tastes and find inspiration. They allowed me the freedom to endlessly travel through different eras and styles, from those bearing illustrious signatures to those created by talented but anonymous craftsmen. So when the prestigious auction house, Sotheby’s, offered to take me on a new journey in the form of this new sale, I was thrilled to step aboard, and I thank them.”
Elie Top’s creations masterly combine patinated, oxidised silver surfaces with fine gold structures, glistening diamonds and unusual hard stones and semiprecious stones. Striking examples of Top’s virtuosity are two rings: one, “Eau d’Hiver” (“Winter Water”) set with an engraved oval chrysoprase and the other, “Feu d’été”, (“Summer Fire”) featuring an engraved oval garnet, yellow sapphires, mandarin garnets and brilliant-cut diamonds.
The sale also includes jewels inspired by the aesthetics of astrology and the galaxy, drawing upon antique astronomical clocks and scientific instruments. Among such celestial creations are a “Pluton” bangle featuring a sphere in rutile quartz and a satellite in diamond, a “Five Sphere” necklace composed of a constellation of planets in diamonds, hardstone, onyx, agate, labradorite, tiger’s eye and a jonc necklace with a removable Akoya and diamond planet.