Under the amused gaze of Sotheby’s global director of jewellery and watches, Laurence Nicolas, jewelry designer Elie Top is piling my arm with gold bracelets so heavy I’m somewhat struggling to keep it steady as I snap a photo for Vogue Arabia’s Instagram stories. The shining, statement jewels in question are primarily sourced from the ’40s and ’50s, from private jewelers or heritage houses like Van Clef & Arpels and Bulgari. They are all vintage and all ready for a new home come the Sotheby’s Paris Fine Jewels sale on April 30th.
In collaboration with the French auction house, located almost directly across from the Elysées palace, Top has curated a selection from the 257-piece collection, dedicated to gold, not so much the dainty type, though this can also be found in the auction, but rather of the graphic, geometric fashion. Moving towards the diamond pieces on offer, he gently unlatches a diamond double clip ribbon brooch, and shares that auction catalogues are part of the foundation of his education, where he learned of various jewelry houses and their epochs, adding a touching personal aspect to the upcoming auction. A pair of crystal rock Suzanne Belperron for René Boivin earrings from the 1930s and a geometric yellow sapphire, amethyst ring by Paul Iribe particularly stand out as does a Harry Winston baguette diamond ring weighing 11.27 carats with a bid estimate of between 300 and 500 K Euros.
From the black velvet tray before us, he picks out an Ilias Lalaounis, 1960s necklace and offers that it can be worn two ways. Removing the pendant, he pairs it with a Boucheron diamond necklace, also on sale with bidding estimated at 80-100K Euros, sharing, “This is how we did it at Lanvin.” The designer is referencing the almost 15 years he spent as the house’s accessories director. He has, of course, since developed his own line. Launched in 2015, a selection of his jewelry that lends its inspiration from the cosmos and the Baroque period. A selection, with two pieces previewed below, will go on an exclusive online sale tomorrow until May 7. Sothebys.com