Orchid Ring, Large, 2009, in 18ct yellow gold. (Available in white or yellow gold). By Marc Quinn.
Gold, part of the story of civilisation, is woven into the history of art. Through millennia, gold has inspired artists and artistry, elevating objects to sacred status through its luminous power, and transforming jewels and adornments into true works of art. Gold has turned jewellers into artists and artists into jewellers, especially throughout the 20th century, when the allure of the noble metal, both physical and metaphysical, has attracted the most talented and celebrated painters and sculptors of the day, including Picasso, Braque and Calder, continuing today in the work of artists like Marc Quinn, whose sculptural gold Orchid jewels turn the ephemeral into the eternal.
Frozen Strawberry Pendant, 2007, in 18ct yellow gold. By Marc Quinn. Edition of 10.
Born in 1964, Marc Quinn is a British artist and one of a loose group known as the Young British Artists. Quinn began to exhibit in the early 1990s. He was the first artist represented by Jay Jopling, and was exhibited in Charles Saatchi's controversial Sensation at The Royal Academy. His sculpture, paintings and drawings often deal with the distanced relationship we have with our bodies, highlighting how the conflict between the 'natural' and 'cultural' has a grip on the contemporary psyche. Using an array of materials, from ice and blood to glass, marble or lead, Quinn develops these paradoxes into experimental, conceptual works that are mostly figurative in form.
3 Orchid Necklace, 2011, in 18ct yellow gold. By Marc Quinn.
He is famed for Alison Lapper Pregnant (a sculpture of Alison Lapper which has been installed on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square in London), Self (a sculpture of his head made with his own frozen blood), and Garden (2000) made for Miuccia Prada in 2000, installed at Fondazione Prada in Milan.
As well as exhibiting extensively internationally his solo exhibitions include Tate Gallery, London, Kunstverein Hannover, Fondazione Prada, Tate Liverpool, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Groninger Museum, Groningen and MACRO, Rome, DHC/ART Fondation pour l'art contemporain, Montréal and Fondation Beyeler, Basel.
Slant Ring, Form VII, 2008, in 22ct yellow gold with polished exterior and mustard yellow gold enamel. By Anish Kapoor.
In the Renaissance, when goldsmithing was prized as a noble art, many great sculptors trained as goldsmiths. They were influenced by the sculptural qualities of gold, its malleability, its power of expression and its links to ancient civilisations. Today that link is perpetuated in the sensual, modern work of sculptor Anish Kapoor. His series of Water Jewels explores the rich colours and textures of gold, incorporating fluid, lyrical concave shapes, with a brilliant mirror-like polish, that relate to his mirror sculptures, so that the gold reflects back on itself, creating a dark mysteriousness.
Water Pendant (Square), Form IV, 2010, in 18ct yellow gold with polished exterior and black interior. By Anish Kapoor.
Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. Born in 1954 in Bombay, he has lived and worked in London since the early 1970's. Over the past twenty years he has exhibited extensively all around the world, and received numerous awards and honours. The Turner Prize winning sculptor gained international recognition in the early 1980's using a new and unusual style, inspired by both western and eastern cultures. Simple curved forms usually monochromatic and brightly coloured define Kapoor's aesthetic.
Crescent Ring, Form V, 2004, in 22ct yellow gold with polished exterior and violet enamel. By Anish Kapoor.
He is famed now for his imposing works such as the vast Marsyas, which filled the Tate's Turbine Hall, or the giant pod like structure Cloud Gate, at Chicago's Millenium Park. His recent solo show at the Royal Academy in London was the most successful exhibition ever presented by a contemporary artist in London. Anish Kapoor's latest commission is to design the spectacular new public attraction for the heart of the 2012 London Olympic Park, entitled "The ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower".
Snakey Noselock Brooch in 18ct yellow gold with rubies, sapphires and enamel. By Kenny Scharf.
Like art, gold captures and reflects its moment in time. American, Hollywood-born artist Kenny Scharf, a leading figure in the New York art scene of the '80s, has nurtured a dynamic style of "Pop Surrealism", drawing on the pop and cartoon images that, he says, fill his unconscious. Turning his talent to different media and disciplines, including watches and jewellery, he plays with iconic, age-old motifs, like the serpent, or the heart, whose enduring message is modernised and transformed into a cute, cartoon face, the new face of love, the new face of gold in art.
Big Big Love Locket, 2007, in 18ct yellow gold with pearl and enamel. By Kenny Scharf.
American, Kenny Scharf, born 1958, is a prolific artist who has worked in painting, printmaking, drawing and sculpture. He has exhibited worldwide, including the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Bienalle de Sao Paolo in Brazil, and the Tony Shafrazi Gallery and Queens Museum of Art in New York.
Scharf essentially uses cartoon and popular characters from childhood, like The Flintstones and The Jetsons, in his artwork as a way of bringing popular culture into fine art. He rose to prominence alongside his contemporaries and friends, Jean-Michel Basquiet and Keith Haring in the 1980's, leading to his work being embraced by established museums like the Whitney.
Lace ring in 18k yellow gold, by Ole scharf.
One of the first artists to inject elements of street culture into the main stream of contemporary art, Scharf has continued to pioneer projects like his Cosmic Cavern—a now legendary all-night DayGlo disco party held in the basement of a Brooklyn warehouse. He is currently working on an animated film project in Hollywood, and represented in New York City at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, which also shows Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, David Hockney et al.
Oilee Ring, 2010, in 18ct yellow gold and silver. Edition of 6. By Sophia Vari.
In the hands of artists and artist-craftsmen, from the Egyptians and Etruscans, through Cellini, Lalique and Faberge to today's conceptual artist goldsmiths, gold comes to life, revealing its innate beauty, inner spirit and giving jewels a value far beyond their intrinsic worth. Greek born artist and sculptor, Sophia Vari, has created a collection of jewels, abstract, modernist yet imbued with a classicism that comes from her roots, but also from her use of gold, which she sculpts into structural yet sensual forms, tangled, folded, interlinked, conjuring time and space, light and shade, softening her powerful geometry with soaring curves. Artists bring new vision to jewels; the art of gold, past, present and future.
Pelagon Ring, in 18ct yellow gold, ebony and red enamel. By Sophia Vari.
Artist, Sophia Vari, is a famous painter but primarily a sculptor of monumental polychrome statues in metal and stone. Born near Athens in 1940, she now lives and works between New York, Monaco and Pietresantra, Italy. Vari's work has stood not only on the square in front of the St Germain-des-Pre Church in Paris, but also in front of the City Hall in Athens, in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and in the Gardens of Monaco in Baden-Baden.
Athena Earrings, in 18ct yellow gold and ebony. By Sophia Vari.
Her work seduces with its highly original and elegant explorations of abstract shape and colour. Many of the titles she gives her work noticeably pay tribute to her native land displaying the influence of her Greek artist heritage. Vari's work reflects her personality: tension and power, sensitivity and light.