The Royal Jewellers S04 ep8 : Art Jewels [London]

Interview with Didier Haspeslagh

Didier Antiques was established in 1982 by Didier Haspeslagh, who specializes in oeuvre jewelry that date from the 1940s to 1980s. In 2006, the business became a family affair, when Didier was joined by Martine Newby Haspeslagh. In 2011, it became a limited company with the opening of a new gallery at its current location at 66b Kensington Church Street, West London. In this gallery, you can find the masterpieces created by leading 20th century designers and architects from the UK, Europe and the USA. The store currently features more than 200 pieces of the finest, exclusive jewels. It is also a regular participant at renowned exhibitions, such as Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York, Pavilion of Art & Design, London (PAD), and Masterpiece, London.


Didier Antiques - Art Jewels is a husband and wife company that was founded in London. 11:13

I was already a jewelry dealer, dealing in jewelry of an artistic nature, so we're not interested in
diamonds and gem stones or gold. We're more interested in the content of the design that an
artist has put into it. 11:34

It's not a new thing. A hundred years ago people, like Edward Bone Jones, already designed jewelry
and we've dealt with that in the past. But since 1945, high international art, virtually every artist has
produced jewelry somewhere along the line and that's part of the surprise to most people. We've
all heard of Picasso but have people heard that he did jewelry. Not really, Dali was very
commercial on all levels, we may have heard of his jewelry, but then other people we've never heard
of as jewelry makers. Pommodoro brothers who were Italian sculptors par excellence, are jewelers before
they becomes sculptors, they came at it through jewelry. Harry Butoya who is an American
sculptor was a teacher of jewelry at Cranbrook Academy during the war. When materials were
quite scarce and was not really allowed to be a sculptor. There was not enough bronze for him to
work with. So they did miniature sculptures in the way of jewelry. He then went on to design
a famous chair, which made him wealthy enough to retire. 12:40

Didier art jewels bracque

Most artist have a need to do jewelry somewhere. Usually because they have girlfriends or
wives, the daughters, that might deserve a present somewhere, they wouldn't necessarily go to
Tiffany's or to Cartier to buy their jewelry, they would make their own stuff and they're very
much able to do so. As a sculptor they already understand the materials, the metal working
techniques that are needed to create a piece of jewelry they can think in three dimensions. The
painters need more help. They usually find a jeweler that they can actually work with and
happy to work with like George Braque who devoted the last three years of his life, on his death
bed literally creating jewelry, a hundred and thirty-five pieces were done and in that's space
of time and then they were made up posthumously, according to his instructions.13:33

My mother had a little shop selling some paintings and one day a person walked into the shop
and said can you come look at these paintings. And when we arrived in this house, it had been
closed since the Germans had left it in 1944. In Belgium, a place called Mayravaka and we
looked in there, together with the military, the lawyer, the daughter of the person who left the
house and never returned to it and had died in Paris. They wanted to dispose of this house
and the contents. A lot of things were rotten, the carpets were breaking under your feet when you
walked on them, but the paintings were all signed and on the wall still which my mother bought. I ended up buying
the rest of the house's contents.There were a lot of junk, but also a lot of interesting pieces. The
dining room table and the six chairs were sold for the price of the whole of the contents
eventually, so all the rest was profit. 14:32

Didier art jewels pomodoro bros

I studied artistry and then I started apprenticeship in an antique furniture store in Brussels and
then I ended up at the crowning finishing touch to work at Christies in London. 14:51

Christies is wonderful, international meeting place for dealers and collectors alike and the
quality of the goods were incredible at the time and what I learnt from that place was the
contacts. Who the people are, the movers and shakers in this business. So the minute I
left Christies, I was able to put the wonderful goods I could find, lying around into the hands of
the right people. 15:21

You are as strong as your customers. If your customers say I want this and I'm prepared to pay
this for it,then you're gonna cut lunch and find that stuff, that's how we make a living, because we
learn from our clients. He's busy making money elsewhere and then you are just being paid to
go and save him some time by finding the right goods. But yes, more than that, you also require
firsthand knowledge of what the goods should be like, are there condition issues, authenticity
issues? 15:57

We have pieces by major modern masters like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali and George Braque who all
made jewelry at one time or another and other people from America like Alexander Calder or
Botoya, Claire Forstein, very often made by themselves, or in the case of Picasso and Dali,
with the help of others.There are first editions done in very small numbers or unique pieces in
some cases and named and published. 16:32

Didier art jewels salvador dali

Very recently, we made a couple of discoveries in the Elizabeth Taylor sale, this is an auction
of old jewels and we were looking through the online version of the catalogue and I suddenly
recognized a piece of jewelry and I said, I know what this is and it was a very bad photograph
and the description was absolutely boring, it was just, said, gold bracelet, weight 105 grams. It
didn't tell me what karat it was, it didn't tell me anything, but I recognized the shape of it from a
photograph that I'd seen a few years earlier in the archive of the Goldsmith Hall in London,
where there had been a few sketches of these photographs which were the entries for the 1961
jewelry exhibition to kick start the British jewelry industry. But the actual piece never made it
to the exhibition because Elizabeth Taylor somehow acquired it before it hit the exhibition, so
then it disappeared out of sight for 50 years, pretty much and just recently was recently
rediscovered and is for sale here right now. 17:40

Didier art jewels martinazi

It was made by a British sculptor called Mark Leighton and he did it with the help of a jeweler
called John Donald. This bracelet three acrobats, something around, that subject, was interested
in at the period of time. We don't know, Elizabeth actually knew Mark Leighton but certainly
she was in London for Cleopatra in 1961 ,this is when this bracelet was created but the artist
was actually in touch with the script writer's wife, they were friends and eventually they
married later on, so there is a connection there somehow, but not sure exactly how. Sometimes
Elizabeth was given these pieces as presents, so we don't know what happened. Did she bought
it or was given it. That's one of three pieces we ended up buying at the sale. The other two also
with interesting stories attached to them.18:33