It is hardly surprising that the world’s most prestigious jewellers feel at home at TEFAF Maastricht. Their stands in the Haute Joaillerie section are clustered around the junction of Madison Avenue and Place Vendôme – all the aisles at the Fair are named after streets and squares in the world’s great cities.
Away from TEFAF the London-based jewellers Graff Diamonds has its New York gallery in Madison Avenue while Gianmaria Buccellati can be found in Place Vendôme in Paris as well as at the company’s Milan headquarters. But coming to TEFAF Maastricht is about a lot more than familiarity. “Exhibiting at such an internationally renowned fair as TEFAF allows us to showcase our collection of rare and unique jewels as well as horologically advanced men’s and beautifully jewelled ladies watches,” says Francois Graff, Chief Executive Officer at Graff Diamonds. “It’s a place where true haute joaillerie connoisseurs come together in one location.” Graff Diamonds has been exhibiting at TEFAF since 2001 and always pulls out all the stops to ensure a breathtaking display. “We have unveiled some of the most fabulous jewels in the world at TEFAF”, says Graff. “Highlights of previous pieces on display include 50+ carat fancy intense yellow diamond earrings, The Flame, a 100 carat perfect pearshape diamond and our Peacock Brooch.” The latter, which went on show at TEFAF last year, incorporated more than 120 carats of coloured. diamonds. “This year, we will showcase the horological advancements of the timepieces included within our luxury watch collection,” adds Graff. A highlight of this will be the MasterGraff Ultra Flat Tourbillon, a tourbillon being an addition to the mechanics of a watch which counters the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage. “It is an exquisite timepiece that pushes the boundaries of haute horology and design,” says Graff. “The piece features the world’s thinnest flying tourbillon, the Graff Calibre 4, that took over a year for our expert team to develop. Incorporating a sophisticated minute ball bearing system, the movement measures just 3.5 millimetres thick – housed within a 6.95 millimetre case.”
Such skill, patience and attention to detail can be found throughout TEFAF Haute Joaillerie. Buccellati will be exhibiting a tulle bracelet inspired by the floral motifs on the façade of the Doge’s Palace facing St Mark’s Square in Venice. Made from yellow gold and set with brilliant-cut diamonds enhanced by a contour of leaves it has an eye-catching elegance and is typical of the handcrafting skills that are a trademark of Buccellati. Everything about the Haute Joaillerie section is very special. Otto Jakob from Karlsruhe in Germany began to teach himself to make jewellery when he was just 17 and his unique pieces have been exhibited at TEFAF since 2008. “I develop my new pieces in a rather reclusive manner,” admits Jakob. “There is always an element of surprise in how the public will receive them.” TEFAF is important to Jakob because it is a gathering place for many of his clients but he also believes that the Haute Joaillerie section has played a crucial role in how jewellery is regarded. “In modern times the public perception of jewellery has shifted towards the domain of fashion accessories,” he says. “TEFAF puts it in its traditional place among works of art.”
He and Graff both believe that the collectors who come to TEFAF are looking for something that they have never seen before and preferably something unique. Whether it is Jakob’s wonderfully clever enameled earrings with a revolvable body enabling the preferred side to be rotated to the front or the world’s largest chameleon diamond, capable of changing colour, which will be brought by Chopard & Cie of Geneva, there is no doubt that TEFAF Haute Joaillerie provides visitors with what they are searching for and does so with considerable style.