Diamond orchid earrings by Shaun Leane

FLOWER POWER: Jewelers’ eternal love of all things floral has inspired the latest selling exhibition by Sotheby’s, “In Bloom.”

The show, which is set to take place in the newly renovated galleries of Sotheby’s New York from May 3 to 24, traces the history of floral fashion in jewels from the 19th century to the present with one-of-a-kind-pieces by a wide-ranging set of jewelers, from Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels to Shaun Leane and Stephen Webster.

“The first flower jewelry was made using real flowers, they’d just put together flowers and wear them on their hair or around their neck. We’ve been using flowers as a motif since jewelry began; really the oldest motifs in jewelry are serpents, tassels and flowers. You’ll never see them go away, contemporary designers are using them even more, it was easier to find the contemporary pieces than the older pieces,” said Frank Everett, sales director of Sotheby’s luxury division and an aficionado of all things floral, having previously worked as a florist and an event planner, where flowers always play a key role.

Everett worked alongside British Vogue jewelry editor Carol Woolton, who has also published a book on floral jewelry, to curate the exhibition over a period of two years. Their aim was to capture the sheer variety of floral jewels and trace the evolution of the motif over the years.

“We tried to hit every maker, every style, every period and every flower,” added Everett, pointing to a pair of 19th-century oversize gold and diamond flower brooches that have been turned into earclips, a vintage Cartier brooch from the Forties and a more modernist Sabba ring featuring a diamond surrounded by turquoise stones to create a floral shape.

A turquoise and diamond ring by Sabba

A turquoise and diamond ring by Sabba  Courtesy Photo

There are also pieces by contemporary jewelers including Jessica McCormack, Solange Azagury Partridge, Fernando Jorge and Tatiana Verstraeten.

All pieces will be available for private sale with prices ranging from $10,000 to $3 million.

“I think it’s going to do well because flowers are so inspirational to so many artists, whether it’s fashion or interior design, just think about wallpaper, jewels, fabric. We love flowers, they just make us happy — and what a better way to preserve them than in jewelry,” Everett added.

A gold and citrine clip brooch by Cartier circa 1940

A gold and citrine clip brooch by Cartier circa 1940.  Courtesy Photo