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Fred Leighton during Masterpiece London

New-York based Fred Leighton is a prolific purveyor of rare vintage as well as contemporary jewelry. He exhibited at Masterpiece London extraordinary pieces of jewelry mixing styles from different decades.

Olivier Dupon author of several books all published by Thames & Hudson, including The New Jewelers (2012) is reporting from London for The Eye of Jewelry regarding the Masterpiece event in an open discussion with CEO Greg Kwiat regarding antique vs. contemporary jewelry.

It goes beyond the simplistic description of saying that at Fred Leighton antique and modern pieces are almost indistinguishable, if it was not for the comprehensive information and backstory that comes with each.

And more than a design approach, it is a brand philosophy: uniting past and current creations so as to demonstrate how relevant antique jewelry is for the modern age.

‘Too many people try to create a divide between antique and contemporary jewelry, whereas the two can perfectly co-exist’ explains Chief Executive Officer Greg Kwiat.  ‘At Masterpiece we present a comprehensive selection from our big collection, which includes some of our most important pieces and the intention to display examples from various times.’

As a result, one could admire Edwardian, Art Nouveau & Deco, Georgian and Victorian estate pieces as well as mid-20th century rarities exhibiting their old world beauty side by side with original contemporary creations at the Fred Leighton stand.

Take a pair of citrine and chandelier earrings, whose delicate foliate motives could easily pass for a 19th century design.

From top to bottom:
Art Deco Diamond 3 Stone Ring by Boivin, circa 1935.
A yellow gold, emerald and diamond cuff bracelet signed Fred Leighton.

Carved Stone and Diamond Bangles signed Fred Leighton.     

These ravishing earrings are Fred Leighton originals. The same goes reversely for a pair of 19th diamond pendant earrings (as shown) that could adorn any modern silhouette.

It is not about blurring the chronology of jewelry making, but to showcase the timeless versatility of older pieces. Among the glass cases and cabinets, the concept went even further with the introduction of one meticulously curated independent designer, Lauren Adriana, whose modern designs convey a mid-20th vibe that fits flawlessly in the ‘back to the future’ world of Fred Leighton.

The past inspires the present as much as the present worships the past. ‘We try to appeal to all collectors. There is a new generation of collectors, who actually do not see themselves as collectors. They appreciate jewelry, yet they will need to go through an educational process to fully learn about what they love’, Kwiat ponders.

‘Most people understand jewelry is collectable, and fairs such as Masterpiece help them view jewelry as an Art form’, he sighs. ‘It is true that Art and Jewelry are enjoyed in different ways, yet they are both intensely personal and ways to adorn either your home or your body. That said, Art cannot make a woman feel beautiful.’

For more information, please visit:   www.fredleighton.com

From top to bottom:
19th Century Diamond Pendant Earrings.
Citrine and diamond chandelier earrings by Fred Leighton.                      
A Retro Yellow Gold and Citrine Leaf Motif Pendant Earrings by Cartier, 1940.