The first monograph dedicated to Parisian artist-jeweller Frédéric Zaavy will launch in October 2020.
Entitled ‘Stardust: The Work and Life of Jeweler Extraordinaire Frédéric Zaavy’, the monograph will explore the work of Zaavy, who was chosen as the exclusive jeweller for the 21st Century revival of Fabergé.
The avant-garde jeweller was inspired by nature, philosophy, quantum physics, art, music, and literature, and his intricate pieces “layered hundreds or thousands of tiny gems that came together like pointillist objets d’art”.
The jeweller reportedly viewed precious stones as ‘impressions’ that reflected the relation between colour and light, which saw his work become a “sculptural form of impressionist painting”.
He travelled the world to “master the gem trade” before designing his own pieces in East Asia, and later opening an atelier in Paris.
The upcoming monograph spans over 250 pages, and brings together accounts of Zaavy from his personal and professional connections.
The book, which was created by New York-based photographers, John Bigelow Taylor and Dianne Dubler, unveils the “exquisite artistry and fluctuating fortunes of a master jeweller whose life was cut too short”.
It explores his creative inspiration, laboratory-like workshop and domestic settings, and features images of his creations.
Floréal Ercilla, lead jeweller at Zaavy’s Parisian atelier, said: “Nowhere else had I ever had the same freedom, and I learned things that had never been done before—by me or anybody else.
“The further he went, the further he let us go, too […] We were four jewellers, a wax-model maker, and four setters. We made unique pieces, crazy fantasies, ultra- complicated, pieces that required hundreds of hours of work or even more. That didn’t exist in any workshop anywhere in the world.”
She added: “Zaavy was a pure dreamer; trade didn’t count. We made a cuff bracelet called Les Nymphéas (water lilies), inspired by Monet.
“All of the stones were six-tenths, which is very small, but because of the play of color and light you had the impression that they were three millimeters. That’s a feat; that takes genius.”