There once was a time when the TEFAF fair in the southern Netherlands town of Maasterich, was all about Old Master paintings and select antique and vintage jewelry. Established in 1988, the event catered and courted to the 1% crowd of collectors who flew in on their private jets and famously jammed up the airport.
In the last several years things have begun to change at the TEFAF organization. There are Spring and Fall TEFAF fairs in New York that include modern art and contemporary High Jewelry. As the fair has become more well known, the main event in Maasterich has been elevated in prestige and esteem through the careful ministrations of the organizers. Now, the show has expanded to include art, decorative arts and jewelry from 7,000 years of history. There is an extensive vetting of the dealers, before they can participate. Once they arrive on-site every single item that goes on display is checked by experts for authenticity. In other words, displaying at TEFAF is like a luxury Good Housekeeping seal of approval.
From what I have been able to glean on Instagram, the strict selection process has resulted in a stunning presentation. I haven’t seen too much, because, well, this crowd is not about showing all they have got and giving a play-by-play of their days in Maasterich. Clients shopping at this level don’t necessarily care for the entire internet to see all they are considering purchasing. I have really had to scour the #tefaf hashtags and search the accounts of the jewelers in attendance to get a look at some of what’s going on. Frankly, I am a bit obsessed with the digital hunt.
If you want to follow along, the fair will be open until March 24, 2019, I have listed a few of the amazing jewelers in attendance with their Instagram handles below. Every once in a while, you will get a good look at some serious treasure on their feeds. Most are pretty light in the posting. Another way to see some of the fair is the Stories section of decorative arts specialist Levi Higgs who attended this year. Jewelry News Network anchor, Anthony DeMarco is at the show. A jewelry personal shopper, Marjolein van Rooij-Roeloffzen has shown some nice pieces on her feed too.
The New York gallery, Siegelson, owned and operated by Lee Siegelson wowed the TEFAF crowd with the introduction of the 120.80-carat Nizam Diamond. The historic gem from the Golconda mines in India was set on a Colombian emerald bead and ruby necklace by Siegelson. Among other treasures in the luxurious display was the historic Boivin starfish brooch from the collection of Claudette Colbert and a new selection of aluminum and gem-set studs by contemporary master jeweler Daniel Brush. Instagram handle: @siegelson
FD Gallery, the exclusive New York City boutique founded by Fiona Druckenmiller, has a stunning space at TEFAF. The display is filled with treasures from 20th century master jewelers including Cartier, Tiffany and Van Cleef & Arpels. “FD,” as the gallery is affectionately known, also brought lots of pieces from the wunderkind Alessandro Sabbadini who creates under the name SABBA and sells exclusively at retail at the Upper Eastside establishment. Not for nothing, FD also boasts one of the most popular Instagrams in the High Jewelry world. It is operated by Fernando Bustillo, a partner at the gallery, and has over 100,000 followers. Instagram handle: @fd_gallery
Symbolic & Chase is a London based gallery that specializes in 20th century masterworks. (Find out more about them in this story from The Adventurine archives.) They keep a relatively low social media profile but they have a couple of jewels by JAR that have appeared again and again in my TEFAF digital creep. You can see how large the sapphire earrings are in the photo above on the @symbolicchase Instagram. They literally fall into the shoulder duster category. There is also an astonishing JAR necklace in their collection. The sautoir style jewel is composed of natural pearls, Colombian emeralds and diamonds with an historic 114.63 carat vivid yellow diamond cushion-shaped fancy vivid yellow.
There are only a small handful of contemporary jewelry designers who display their pieces solo at TEFAF. The list includes Cindy Chao, Glenn Spiro, Hemmerle, Otto Jakob and Wallace Chan. Pieces from the French boutique Maison Auclert are in the Jean-David Cahn’s presentation.