Jewelry: Artistic Differences

  • Jill Newman

Gallery is a term usually used in association with the fine arts of painting, photography, and sculpture. But at the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York City, precious metals and gemstones are the artistic media.

“When we established the gallery in the ’70s, we put gold and gems in the hands of traditional artists to allow them to express their creative vision in fine jewelry,” explains Patricia Faber, who is a partner with her husband, Edward Faber, in the midtown Manhattan gallery. For more than 25 years, that original concept has prevailed, although the Fabers no longer supply struggling artists with metals and jewels.

Today, the couple represents renowned contemporary jewelry designers such as Michael Zobel and Bernd Munsteiner. These avant-garde artists are forging new techniques with gold and platinum and employing meteorite, cobalt chrome, and other innovative materials appointed with precious pearls, diamonds, or uniquely cut gems.

Aaron Faber’s offerings are not for the traditional jewelry devotee who evaluates a piece based on the rarity or carat weight of a gemstone. “Our clients are collectors who see jewelry as an art form, like a painting or sculpture,” says Patricia. “They are confident; they don’t make a purchase for brand identification. This is unique jewelry that people notice.”

Indeed, Patricia fits the profile of her clients. An avid collector of her favorite gallery artist, Michael Zobel, she often wears one of his arresting designs, such as the Cape York brooch. The design features a piece of meteorite set in a unique combination of sterling silver, platinum, and 18-karat gold to create a gradation of gray hues, which are framed by rough black and white diamonds. “Michael Zobel is a prodigious talent who combines the unexpected,” she says. “His pieces have a dramatic quality.”


Her other favorites include Greek designer Lina Fanourakis, who emulates the look of grosgrain ribbon in 22-karat gold and sets rose-cut diamonds in a pavé pattern that resembles flowing fabric. In a different vein, Bernd Munsteiner creates bold and colorful gemstone-driven designs with his imaginatively cut stones set in sizable pendants and brooches. 

Aside from the work of edgy artisans, the gallery offers vintage jewelry collections that are also revered for their stylistic point of view. Among Faber’s favored collections is Art Nouveau Newark jewelry, a style of enamel jewelry that was handcrafted in Newark, N.J., from 1890 through 1920.

Over the past decade, Aaron Faber has also emerged as an important resource for collectible timepieces. “Our specialty is collector’s watches, both vintage and secondary, with an eye toward future value,” says Edward. The gallery specializes in limited edition mechanical watches from Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet. Among the gallery’s prizes is a gold Rolex Daytona worth $50,000 that Paul Newman wore in a 1971 Time magazine cover photo, and a platinum Patek Philippe perpetual moonphase with a retrograde calendar. The limited edition timepiece is valued at $60,000, and increasing, says Edward.

“We have the kind of jewelry and watches that are conversation pieces,” says Patricia. “You simply won’t see them on anyone else.” 

Aaron Faber Gallery
212.586.8411
www.aaronfaber.com

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