Mon, Jul 31, 2017

Luxury Goods, Jewellery & Watches
Grima jewel collection up for sale

The largest private collection of jewels by Andrew Grima ever to appear at auction will go under the hammer at Bonhams in London this September.

Charismatic Anglo-Italian jeweller Andrew Grima was regarded as one of the 20th century’s most daring and imaginative designers. He was the go-to society jeweller for royals, celebrities, socialites and artists throughout the swinging sixties and seventies and his earliest clients included HM The Queen, Princess Margaret, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Bond Girl Ursula Andress.  

Today, collectors of his work include fashion designers Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada.

Grima’s groundbreaking designs, which drew inspiration from art, sculpture and the natural world, injected originality and glamour into what had become a stagnant jewellery scene in post-war Britain. He created bold and unusual jewels whose value lay in their aesthetic composition rather than just in the carat weight of expensive diamonds and precious gems.  He is recognised as one of the great modernist jewellery designers of the 20th century and his pieces are highly sought after worldwide.

The collection, to be sold at Bonhams’s sales room on New Bond Street as part of its Fine Jewellery sale on September 20, features 55 pieces of jewellery designed by Grima.  It includes some of the jeweller’s earliest pieces made in London during the Sixties, a seminal selection from his heyday in the 1970s, a number from the nineties and an assortment made just before his death in 2007.

Highlights include pieces from his admired About Time watch collection for Omega, one of the most innovative collections of watches ever made, as well as works from the Rock Revival collection that incorporated large, uncut and unusual gemstone crystals.  

Omega approached Grima in 1968 to create a series of watches and timepieces, and the original list of 55 watches and 31 matching jewels were based around an Omega movement.  Grima’s concept involved using a gemstone as the watch “glass” whereby the wearer would see time through a gem.  

The collection launched in 1970 in London and within days sold out. Grima would design new watches as they sold although each watch took a minimum of six weeks to four months to manufacture.  

Emily Barber, Department Director, Bonhams Jewellery, said: “Andrew Grima’s work is distinct in terms of its design, quality and originality.  He was essentially an artist whose medium happened to be jewellery. His designs capture the spirit of each era in which he worked, yet are still immensely wearable and contemporary today.  Each lot in this sale reveals the diversity and creativity of his work."

The current owner of the collection, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented: “When you look at a piece of Grima jewellery you are moved by exquisite artistry in much the same way that you would be moved when standing in front of a beautiful painting. In fact, for me, Andrew Grima is the great impressionist of jewellers.”

Barber added: “Collectors of Andrew Grima’s designs consider them to be miniature artworks.  They are drawn to Grima’s work because of its bold, cutting-edge design and the fact that his pieces were often unique.  We anticipate strong interest in this collection given it is one of the most significant and comprehensive private collections of jewels by Grima ever to come to auction.”

A number of the lots which will feature in the upcoming Bonhams sale were exhibited at Grima’s Retrospective exhibition held on his 70th birthday at Goldsmiths' Hall, London, in 1991.

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