What would prompt Subodh Gupta, the reigning prince of Indian art, to design jewellery? A good cause—in this case, raising money for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK-based organization dedicated to the welfare of children who have suffered abuse. Participating along with him are Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor, the famous Damien Hirst and a clutch of artists and jewellery designers. Sotheby’s London will be auctioning 10 articles of jewellery, including a ruby and diamond pendant designed by Gupta, a gold enamel ring designed by Kapoor and a silver charm bracelet by Hirst, on 17 December in London. Other lots include earrings, a watch and a pendant from jewellers such as David Morris, Chopard and Theo Fennell.
According to Joanna Hardy, senior specialist and head of jewellery for the auction house, designing jewellery may be a first for Gupta but it is an old trend among artists—those who have done it earlier include Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Georges Braque. “Artists have lent their skill and talent to jewellery making,” she says. “It is a challenge for the artist to make something that stands out, and is also recognizable as their work, and is also wearable.”
Sparkler: A diamond and ruby pendant by Subodh Gupta.
The 22-carat gold with enamel ring designed by Kapoor, called Water Ring1, (estimated price £15,000-20,000; around Rs11-15lakh) is similar to the piece he has designed earlier for a London jeweller, and Gupta’s ruby, diamond and black diamond pendant (estimated price £20,000-25,000) like many of his artworks, derives inspiration from an utensil of everyday use in India. According to the auction house’s description, it “recreates the shape of a stainless steel pan in white gold and contrasts it with precious gems, the gems working to elevate this basic cooking utensil to an object of adornment”.
The pieces up for auction are expected to fetch £100,000 and buyers of some of the pieces will also be treated to add-ons such as champagne lunches by the jeweller or a tour of the artists’ studios. The buyers of the Hirst silver charm bracelet, “edition 38 of just 50 (pieces)”, (estimated price £15,000-20,000) will get to tour one of the artist’s London studios.
The artists were approached by the NSPCC for the project. “NSPCC has special relationship with the artists,” says Hardy. “Everyone has been so generous with their time.” For the benefit of potential buyers from India, Hardy points out that the pieces go well with traditional jewellery.
For details on how to bid, visit www.sothebys.com